One of the good guys
October 13, 2011
Tim Melcher is the new Domestic Violence Investigator working with local agnecies to serve, care for and protect victems of domestic violence.
Citizen photo/Jeannette Boner
In classic western films the good guy could always be identified wearing the white cowboy hat.
Well, he may wear a white cowboy hat but Tim Melcher doesn’t need the tangible identifier for the community to know that they have another good guy on their side.
As the newly appointed Domestic Violence Investigator, this is one hat that Melcher slipped into easily when he was invited to apply for the position. Passionate about finding the truth, Melcher is, above all, focused on caring for people; a job he has assumed most of his professional life.
A former ER nurse for Teton Valley Health Care, Melcher is also the elected county coroner. Assuming the DVI position puts him on the frontlines of serving victims of sexual assault and domestic violence while working with established services in the county.
The position is funded through a STOP grant earned through the nonprofit Family Safety Network. The grant supports work geared toward services, training, officers and prosecutors. The goal of the DVI is to continue to support victims through the combined efforts of Family Safety Network, the county prosecutor’s office, Teton Valley Hospital and the sheriff’s office to help better respond to victims.
“Nursing has always been my first love,” Melcher said. “I love taking care of people. To me, this job was an extension of what I love to do.”
Charged also with investigating sexual assault and domestic crimes involving residents 13 years and older, Melcher said the last three and half months on the job have been challenging, heart breaking and rewarding.
“Having worked in the ER, I saw it,” he said of domestic crimes and sexual assaults. “But I was not privy to the whole story. There have been two surprises,” he added of the position. One, the amount of people who won’t use the resources available to them, and two, the people who will use the resources but then back out.”
Family Safety Network executive director Susie Fenger said although domestic violence and sexual assault rates may seem like they are climbing, she is quick to remind that the number of people reporting these crimes is what has increased.
“I don’t think it’s a spike in occurrence but a spike in reporting,” Fenger said. “A majority of offenders are people they know. We’re not dealing with the boogieman. When we realize how hard it is to report; it rips people’s lives apart, we want to encourage people to come forward and to be brave. Exposing it allows them to get help and that’s what we want.”
Last year, Family Safety Network reported serving its largest number of families at 350.
“There is a lot of domestic and sexual violence,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s really increased but the whole goal of our work is to allow the victim to come forward.”
Melcher echoes this goal.
“They (the victims) need to understand that they are not the only ones out there. My goal is to get people out of those circumstances. No one should have to come home to a violent situation. It shouldn’t hurt to be a person.”