School shooting prompts crisis team bill

ROSWELL, N.M (KRQE) – The Chaves County CASA Program in Roswell is asking the legislature to fund a crisis response team to help victims like those affected by the Berrendo Middle School shooting.

“The shooting happened just so recently and it has made us all realize that one, we did a great job, but two, we could learn to do a better job,” said CASA’s Executive Director Carrie-Leigh Cloutier.

Cloutier is spear heading a bill that would fund a crisis response group in Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties.

She and her workers were the first team on scene at the Berrendo Middle School shooting.

“What we learned is that there is nothing in place. When we got there, there was no trauma team in place,” said Cloutier.

The proposed bill asks for $250,000 to develop a team of court house dogs, forensic interviewers, therapists and victim advocates.

Officials say the team would go in after a tragedy and would be there to help victims throughout the healing process.

They say they would be there from the day it happened until the day it wraps up in court.

Cloutier says it would be the first program of its kind in the state and in the nation.

“Do we need it? Yes. Is it critical? Absolutely. And we just saw that first hand. Is it doable and powerful? Yes,” said Cloutier.

According to the bill, the crisis team would respond to all types of trauma cases including shootings, rapes and suicides.

The bill is still pending in the legislature, but is not in the state’s current budget proposal.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a program that helps trauma victims.

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