Williamson County crime victim advocates rededicate themselves to victims' rights

Williamson County leaders mark National Crime Victims' Rights Week. (Photo: CBS Austin News)

Nearly five million Americans became crime victims last year. That's part of the reason behind the annual National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

Wedensday Williamson County marked the occasion by gathering to recognize the people who go above and beyond in helping victims of violent crime. Sheriff Robert Chody pointed to Deputy Jack Danford’s treatment of a family rocked by the suicide of a family member. Sheriff Chody says, "If it was not for the care and compassion that Deputy Danford showed for this family they would have not only lost a son that day, but also would have lost all hope in law enforcement and emergency services as a whole."

For many in this line of work there's always a case that makes it personal. Judge Bill Gravell remembers a particular toddler named Jowell. Gravell says, “I promised the day I saw him dead that I would make sure that we in Texas would do everything to honor the law, to honor our lord and do everything possible to assure that justice prevailed."

The person responsible is now serving life without parole, and Gravell is happy to share the credit. "I kept my word and so did the Georgetown Police Department,” he says. “And the Williamson county district Attorney's Office, and the victims' advocates all along the way, all kept their word."

Serving crime victims is rewarding but it does have its risks. District attorney Shawn Dick once worked with Houston-area Constable Clint Greenwood who was gunned down just this week. Dick says, “It was a sobering and tragic reminder that what we do every day is risk our lives. All of us."

But what keeps them going is that's there's another Jowell out there who's going to need their help. “After a while of being in this profession, you don't have one Jowell, you have multiple Jowells,” says Gravell adding, “And for me this year that's the name that permeates to the top. But for everyone in the room, they can think of someone who stands out for them."

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