Funding for a victim advocate to assist Lexington County Hispanics affected by crime is part of more than $46 million worth of grants recently approved for law enforcement agencies statewide by the South Carolina Public Safety Coordinating Council.

“Grant funds distributed by Attorney General Alan Wilson will enable us to hire a bilingual victim advocate who will help bridge the communication gap with those who might face language barriers in sharing important crime-related information,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “This position will focus on building trust and serving the needs of crime victims. We want every victim to feel completely comfortable in coming forward.”

Koon said the deputy selected for the position will work to prevent further abuse, neglect and criminal acts among the Hispanic community.

“The welfare of all victims will be the top objective for this position,” Koon said. “We’ll do that by providing the wide array of services we typically offer and then coordinating with partner agencies and organizations to assist victims on a more individualized basis.”

The Sheriff’s Department expects to fill the bilingual law enforcement victim advocate position before the end of the year, according to Koon.