"When you're the victim of a crime, from vandalism to violence, sometimes the system can seem overwhelming," said Jessica Tagle
."Victims need to know that there is somebody on their side, somebody who cares, somebody who can help them." One of the first civilians to be hired by the Pinecrest Police Department, Tagle is the head of a new division called Victims Services.She
previously was a victim's advocate for the City of Miami Police Department for more than four years.
"My job is to make contact with the victims of every crime that is reported, to offer them support, intervention and referral to community agencies when necessary," she
said."I can also update people on the status of their case in progress."
In cases where the situation is more complex, such as in a domestic violence case, Tagle
may also assist with emergency custody of the children, safe haven, restraining orders, and referrals for therapy, among other issues.Tagle
also takes a proactive and preventative approach, meeting frequently with Pinecrest school principals, administrators and counselors.
"Many times, parents may be having a problem with their children at home and don't know where to turn for help," she
said."I have extensive experience with many county agencies and can provide referrals for problems including eating disorders, substance abuse, dating violence, and stalking."Recently, a psychologist called her
input on violence prevention and intervention in schools, and ideas for ways to provide new services."Since this is a new program, we welcome ideas and suggestions," said Tagle
.On the job since September, Tagle
has been increasingly in demand.In the first two weeks of October alone, she
handled more than 100 cases.
"When I first came here, we didn't expect it to be so busy, but I'm glad I can help," she
said."I really enjoy my job, knowing that I've made a difference in people's lives by empowering them with the resources they need to solve their problems. Tagle attended Lourdes Academy, then graduated from Florida International University (FIU) with a bachelor's degree in social work.She
completed a year of specialized training in crisis intervention with the Switchboard of Miami, followed by a yearlong internship with the Victims Advocacy Center of FIU.
"After my internship was complete, they hired me as a Victims Advocate for issues such as stalking, dating violence and sexual battery among college students," Tagle
said.One year later, she joined the City of Miami Police Department and served as a Victims Advocate for more than four years.
"Here in Pinecrest, I have the ability to be personally involved with each case and give each person the attention they need," she
said."As the department grows through the years, these services will continue to expand and I look forward to being a part of it."
For more information, please call the Pinecrest Police Department