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Annual two-day event for crime victim professionals put on by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office

Dayton's Oregon District
Jerry Kenney

The 'Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance' is an annual two-day event for crime victim professionals put on by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This year’s theme was, “A Celebration of Resiliency.” Today’s plenary session focused on lingering impacts of the Oregon District Shooting that took place on Aug. 4, 2019.

Today’s presenters were from organizations that participated in the shooting’s response efforts. One of the presenters was Sandy Hunt, the Director of the Victim and Witness Division of the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office. She discussed the crisis response process and what it was like working with victims and their families.

“The Dayton Convention Center became our incident command center,” said Hunt. “We met throughout the day to coordinate logistics and prepare next steps.

Hunt also explained that a communications team was developed and a spokesperson was identified to provide designated information to the media. A large part of Hunt’s responsibilities was to provide death notifications to family members.

“We had a private center in the convention center designated for this function,” said Hunt. “Along with someone from the sheriff’s office and the coroner's office, we informed family members that their loved one did not survive.”

Hunt gave a minute by minute account of the 32 second shooting, detailing how Dayton police officers engaged quickly and took down the active shooter in one minute.

“The mass shooting only lasted 32 seconds, but the aftermath continues,” said Hunt in the closing statement of her presentation.

Other presenters spoke about the ongoing challenge of providing trauma informed mental health care in the underserved communities who were affected by the massacre. Stephen Massey, Chief Operations Officer of CitiLookout, was one of the presenters. Citilookout specializes in trauma recovery in underserved communities.

“Many survivors and victims have been failed by the system time and time again,” said Massey. “Our trauma recovery model is designed to serve survivors who do not normally get their due diligence from victim services.”

Presentations also focused on the importance of collaborations between the various organizations that sprung into action to respond to the massacre. Presenters sought to highlight how recovery efforts stretched well beyond the initial shooting and still continue today; almost three years later.

“Collaboration is one of the most important things that happened throughout this process,” Bonnie Parish, a representative from Miami Valley’s Family Services said.

The conference also offered interactive workshops on ethics, equity, and survivor advocacy.