The Friends of the Badge Luncheon was an event to honor and thank local law enforcement, justice officials, and the District Attorney's office for everything that they do on a daily basis to protect and serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Taking place on National Superhero Day, the luncheon was packed with the truest superheroes there are: the men and women who spend every day making our world a safer place. From local police department chiefs, to prosecutors at the District Attorney's office, to judges presiding over local district courts, the turnout was a spectacular array of people who have changed our clients' lives forever.
One of those clients is Rachelle Pinkerton, a survivor of domestic violence and former client of Denton County Friends of the Family.
"One police officer made a difference in my story", says Rachelle. "On the night of his [her ex-husband's] last vicious assault, the time that Officer Stevenson took to help me impacted my entire life...I was trying everything I could to get safe and keep my daughter safe and I didn't know how to do that. I was terrified of calling the police because I didn't know what kind of retribution would be waiting for me at home if there was no cause to arrest him. I felt paralyzed. When Officer Stevenson arrived that night she wasn't being mechanical. She took the time to help me understand what my options were, and made me feel like I had someone in my corner for the first time."
Dale Hansen, weeknight sports anchor of WFAA-TV and host of Dale Hansen's Sports Special on Sundays at 10:20 pm served as the keynote speaker at the luncheon. Once named TV Personality of the Year, Dale earned that title twice over at the Friends of the Badge Luncheon, keeping our guests laughing and enjoying themselves. Dale has a way of story-telling that gets any crowd inspired, especially as he recounted his own experience with domestic violence as a child.
When he was a young boy his father punched his mother and broke her nose. His father was a very large and strong man that he had looked up to, and that inspired admiration in a lot of other people. Dale said, during his keynote at Friends of the Badge, that this experience changed the way he looked at his father forever. "Never has such a strong, big man looked so small in the eyes of a young boy".
There were no domestic violence shelters when Dale was a child, and domestic violence was not something that was discussed in public. A bright light has shined on the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault since then. Batterers are being held accountable more and more, and victims have access to more resources than ever before. That is all because of the collaboration between agencies like Friends of the Family and local law enforcement!
At Friends of the Family we see stories like Rachelle's and Dale's every day. The collaboration between law enforcement, the justice system, and our agency is absolutely crucial for our clients. We were honored to be able to present awards to the awesome people below!
Super Partner- Little Elm Police Department
Superhero Advocate - Charley Smith
Heroic Partner - ADA Caitlin Milmo
Infinity and Beyond – Family Services Division, Denton Police Department
Community Crusader- Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell
Mental Health Partner- Sergeant Cari Coker, Denton County Sheriff's Office
Community Defender- City of Corinth Police Department
Avenger of Safety- Sergeant Ramona Rosborough, UNT Police Department
Guardian of Justice- The Honorable Jonathan Bailey, 431st District Court
A word from our Congressman about the Friends of the Badge luncheon: