Havre Police Detective Sgt. Jason Barkus said he was completely surprised by the reason for a surprise party today -- Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock presenting Barkus with the Attorney General’s Outstanding Crime Victim Advocate Award for his work in investigating sexual abuse crimes.
“It was quite a shock,” Barkus said after the presentation. ”It’s a pretty big honor to be given that (award) and to have Attorney General Steve Bullock present it … “
“I guess it makes you feel like you make a difference, and that’s the important thing,” Barkus said.
Barkus was nominated by Michele Holden and Stacey Carrigan, domestic violence victim witness advocates with District IV Human Resource Development Council’s Domestic Abuse program, for his work on Havre’s Sexual Abuse Response Team.
When he presented the award, Bullock said that, while the nominators and Barkus’ coworkers and superior officers said they were honored that their nominee was selected, that presenting the award was an honor for him.
“Detective Sergeant Barkus, you do incredibly important work, and by all accounts you do it extraordinarily well … ,” Bullock said. “This is often the case: people who work in this area don’t get recognition of the lives that you change in the way that you are a true champion for the victims.
Bullock cited numerous letters supporting Barkus’ nomination for the award, which praised for his dedication, thoroughness, ability and style in pursuing what Chief Kirk Fitch called the “delicate balancing act” of protecting both the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused.