Two stories today about Dave Parris retiring from EPD.
Senior Detective Dave Parris to retire this month
Eureka's top detective set for retirement
Dave Parris gave much more than 21 years to the City of Eureka and the people of Humboldt County.
He was one of the "movers and shakers" who brought innovative new programs to Humboldt County. Programs like SART, the Sexual Assault Response Team, and CAST, the Child Abuse Services Team.
Before SART was proposed and developed, rape victims - women, children, and sometimes men - who were raped were brought in to the Emergency Room, left sitting in the hallway with all the other ER patrons, waiting to be seen. Having just suffered unimaginable trauma, the rape victims were then put into an exam room, interviewed by different people, answering the same questions over and over again, examined by doctors who had no special training to deal with sexual assault victims, no particular knowledge of the type of forensic evidence needed, in the Emergency Room with no privacy, no counselor, no nothing.
Three people saw the need for a better way, Sister Ann of St. Joseph's hospital, Rob Wade from the D.A.'s Office and Dave Parris from EPD.
Together they got together and developed protocol for handling these victims, with compassion, and with full support services designed to help minimize the trauma and ensure proper gathering of forensic evidence... people from all departments on call, (law enforcement, the D.A.'s Office, rape crisis) a special room set aside in a private area, rape crisis counselors there to help guide the victim through the process, and help ease the pain and trauma, officers and doctors with special training in interviewing and evidence gathering.
Designed to help the victims through a very difficult time, the room was equipped with a bag of clothes - sweatpants, shoes, t-shirts, etc because the victims often had to leave their clothes as evidence. Small details, but important. Just one example.
Dave Parris did that.
Then, a couple of years later, the question of how best to handle child abuse victims came up. The McMartin Preschool case had shown what improper interviewing techniques could do to kids, to families and to the community.
Three people, Rob Wade, Dave Parris and Karen Lofts-Jarboe recognized the need for a multi-disciplinary team with special training in interviewing techniques and evidence gathering. Terry Farmer and John Frank agreed, and CAST, the Child Abuse Services Team, was born.
Before CAST was developed, children would be interviewed by a series of people, all asking different kinds of questions, with different criteria, police officers, the D.A.'s Office, then CWS, doctors, nurses, etc. Evidence was often lost, or not acquired at all.
With the development of the CAST program, the whole process became victim-centered, again with specially trained people from all departments on call, including mental health counselors for kids and their parents.
It was a new era in law enforcement, one geared towards victims rights, and on easing the pain of going through the terrifying judicial system.
It is a special kind of person that sees a need and helps bring about the solution.
It also takes real courage to stand up for what you believe in. It takes a special kind of courage to stand up to Paul Gallegos' destructive political machine.
When Dave Parris signed on as Worth Dikeman's campaign manager, he knew what he was up against. And he chose to do it anyway.
And of course, the Salzman machine went into action, demonizing Parris, denigrating Dikeman for being to close to law enforcement, weaving hate and suspicion into the equation, making the public believe that there was something wrong with a D.A. having the respect of the law enforcement community of which he is the head. That's what you've been taught to believe.
The truth is - Dave Parris' record is proof of the good things that can happen when the D.A.'s Office and law enforcement work together, with respect and compassion. The importance of that working relationship that has been so denigrated couldn't be more clear.
So, when you see Dave Parris, tell him "Thanks!"
What he has done for this community is HUGE.
These are the kinds of things the people of this community used to care about, protecting women and children, making the process more compassionate, and more efficient.