Lamoille County Special Investigation Unit (LCSIU) Executive Director Tracy Patnoe was hired in the spring of 2018. At that time the Lamoille County Child Advocacy Center was an associate member of The National Children’s Alliance (NCA). With a site review to be considered for full accreditation coming up on the horizon, she had to get the program ready. She drew on her background in early education and business to help determine the LCSIU’s next steps. She hoped it would be enough. LCSIU had recently moved to a new space. To make the rooms more comfortable and less institutional, Tracy purchased some canvases and partnered with a local childcare program to have the kids paint, color and create 3D art to hang on the walls. Combined with some other decorative touches, the CAC was transformed into a more homelike space.
Next on her list was to replace their outdated recording equipment. In December of 2018, Tracy replaced their old, undependable equipment with CaseCracker. Casecracker, which the team adapted to well, is reliable, user-friendly and designed specifically for law enforcement. In early 2019, Tracy obtained a Children’s Justice Act grant to purchase a Cellebrite unit. Cellebrite’s digital intelligence platform empowers organizations to access, manage and analyze digital data. The unit is available for the entire team as well as other agencies and can be used in drug cases, motor vehicle accidents and more. The LCSIU MDT has had a consistent team committed to their work and their community. In October of 2019, Tracy organized a day-long retreat for the LCSIU MDT. The retreat included team-building exercises as well as meals together and also allowed for some social time. Tracy started the day by arranging to have the entire group meet at her house for breakfast. She had planned a scavenger hunt but due to the weather conditions, they had to turn to Plan B – an escape room where staff from the Department for Children and Families, Law Enforcement, Probation and Parole, Medical and Mental health as well as the Child Advocacy Center worked together to try to get out of a locked room. Although they did not manage to escape the room, they worked well together and had a ball trying!
All of the hard work from Tracy and her team in Lamoille was put to the test in July of 2020 when they had their accreditation site review with NCA. With travel and a host of other restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the site review would be completely virtual. For an idea of what a site review entails, click here. The site review went off without a hitch, and the site reviewers from NCA will recommend LCSIU for full accreditation at the NCA board meeting next month. Congratulations Tracy and the entire MDT in Lamoille. Keep up the great work!