Why We Serve: An Interview Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt

Kentucky Sheriff's Assoc. seal.

As we gear up for the 2017 Aftermath K9 Grant Competition, we are sharing the last stories of our Why We Serve grant winners. It’s been an exciting journey. The contest awarded over $7000 to 4 different charities in Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia, and Florida.

As one of the four finalists, Deputy Brittany Whittcomb of Fayette County, Kentucky, was awarded $500 for the Amanda Program, which provides aid to victims recovering from domestic violence.  Last week, we had an opportunity to speak directly with Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt about the award and the Amanda Program.

Life in Fayette County

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is mid-size department with 90 employees, including 65 sworn officers. Sheriff Witt describes: “We are a merged form of government, which means we’re not responsible for taking 911 calls. Instead, we work with another agency to provide services. We also transport prisoners, extradite fugitives, ensure sex offender compliance, and work with domestic violence victims.”

As many departments have experienced, Sheriff Witt identifies violence as a serious concern for Fayette County. “We have an increase in violence, particularly involving firearms. We see lots of young people get hurt or die. Some of them are not even involved in the violence; they were just caught in the cross fire.” Domestic violence is also an important subject, and one that matters greatly to both Deputy Whitcomb and Sheriff Whitt. For this reason, the Amanda Center was selected as the recipient of Deputy Whitcomb’s grant.

What is the Amanda Center?

The Amanda Center is named after Amanda Ross. In 2009, She was shot to death outside her Lexington, KY, apartment by her ex-fiancé, Stephen Nunn. Ross was a victim of domestic violence; she had tried to seek help for months. Before she was killed, Amanda sought an emergency protection order against Nunn. Nunn continued stalking her, however, culminating when Nunn shot Amanda as she left for work. Ironically, Nunn was a former Kentucky state legislator who championed laws protecting victims of domestic violence

“Amanda had said that once she was free, she was going to help other victims,” Sheriff Witt describes. “Sadly, she never got the chance. Her mother, Diana Ross, took on the responsibility of helping others in her daughter’s name. As a community, we need to help protect those who need us. The Amanda Center provides that central point of contact – the Center helps victims of domestic violence file emergency petitions, speak to authorities and get connected with community resources. The Center is a safe place for victims to turn to.”

How will the Why We Serve Grant Help?

Sheriff Witt first heard about the Why We Serve grant at the National Sheriff’s Association Conference, but Aftermath was already a familiar name. “Last year I became aware of a void in our community and researched crime scene cleanup. In reaching out to other industry professionals for more information, both the FBI and several victim’s advocates referenced your company and services.”

When asked how the community would benefit from the Why We Serve grant, Sheriff Witt explained: “We are going to create care packages for victims and their children. We know that many victims of domestic violence have experienced extreme trauma and we hope the care packages will offer a small amount of comfort as they transition into their new lives. The grant will help us get these packages started. We hope to officially roll out this aspect of the program in October, during Domestic Violence Awareness month.”

If you wish to learn more about the Amanda Center or make a donation to the care package program, please visit the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department website.

To learn more about Fayette County, view Deputy Whitcomb’s winning video from the Why We Serve competition on YouTube.