Chowchilla Police Sgt. Manuel Ramirez enjoys serving his community in any way possible.
Whether it’s through coaching, mentoring or investigating crimes, Ramirez proved recently that hard work pays off.
Ramirez represents the Madera County Child Forensic Interview Team under Community Action Partnership of Madera County, who received accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance – an association dedicated to helping communities respond to allegations of child abuse.
Ramirez, who is a police officer for the Chowchilla Police Department, received recognition for his work in getting the Community Action Partnership of Madera County its accreditation.
“This would not have occurred if (Ramirez) was not part of the Child Forensic Interview Team,” said Mattie Mendez, executive director for Community Action Partnership of Madera County. “Law enforcement plays a critical role because they are the first responders involved in an allegation of sexual assault.”
Having an accreditation from the alliance is important because it proves that strategies for responding to child sexual assault meet the national standards for best practices, according to the Community Action Partnership of Madera County.
Mendez said the accreditation not only means they met national standards but can look to apply for funding to further support the Madera County Forensic Interview Team, which consists of a number of Madera County agencies including the Madera County Sheriff’s Department and the Madera Police Department.
“When you’re accredited,” Ramirez said. “That means you’ve met all the policies and procedures.”
Ramirez represented the team for nearly two years.
“I’m very excited because Madera County as a whole (is) leading,” Ramirez said. “We put so much work in and all of us (entities) have worked together collectively. All that hard work now is recognized.”
Ramirez has the daunting task of bringing child sexual assault cases to the table each month, along with other agencies involved with the Madera County Child Forensic Interview Team. He could not speak further about the cases due to confidentiality.
Some months, Ramirez said, the department would not have a case to talk about, while other months there would be more than one case to talk about.
“They would provide an update of the case to ensure the victims are being supported in a closed session (environment),” Mendez said.
Ramirez believes the department is setting an example for many after seeing other county officials attending their meetings.
“We’re one of the few counties in the Central Valley that are recognized,” he said. “We’re paving the way for other counties.”
Ramirez said the goal of the program is to ultimately provide the victims and their families with proper resources and a resolution to their case.
Lt. Dave Riviere with the Chowchilla Police Department said they are happy about the accreditation.
“Obviously, we are proud of him,” Riviere said about Ramirez’s work. “He’s done a lot of work for our department in doing this. He’s a hardworking person and he’s reaping the benefits of the work.”
Ramirez, 39, will be training a new officer to take over the duties with the Madera County Child Forensic Interview Team. Ramirez has been promoted to sergeant and will be sworn in at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 25.
Ramirez said he still plans to be part of the team and help when he can.
“All of us are excited,” Ramirez said. “It feels good to be recognized for the hard work but ultimately (for) the victims and their families.”
The Community Action Partnership of Madera County has been operating the Child Forensic Interview Team since 2006. The agency is a nonprofit organization that services the needs of low income families. They also provide energy assistance, child care services, help serve victims of crimes and provide other services to the community of Madera County.