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MPD investigator named child advocate of the year

MPD investigator named child advocate of the year
MPD investigator named child advocate of the year | Martin Police Department, Child Advocate of the Year, Robbie Hatler, Randal Walker

MPD Inv. Robbie Hatler
As a child advocate and member of law enforcement, Martin Police Department Inv. Robbie Hatler said the rewards for helping children offset the disappointments when dealing with victims of abuse. His dedication to providing children in this community with a voice has earned him special recognition by the Northwest Council on Children and Youth as Child Advocate of the Year. “I don’t think I deserve this. It is very flattering and the things Capt. Walker said about me are humbling,” Hatler said in an interview last week. The investigator was nominated by MPD Capt. Randal Walker as 2008 Child Advocate of the Year. “Since Oct. 30, 2007, he has personally investigated 27 cases ranging from sexual battery by an authority figure to rape of a child… Inv. Hatler has submitted six child sex abuse cases to the courts and because of his thoroughness, attention to details and professionalism has not had any of the cases go to trial… I am proud to have Inv. James R. Hatler under my command caring for the children of Tennessee,” Walker wrote in a nomination letter to the Council. “I am working on a child’s behalf, but this is not a Lone Ranger effort,” Hatler commented. He lauded the efforts of the state department of children’s services, supervisors Sammy Liles, Walker and MPD Chief David Moore. “Chief Moore sees that I get the training and fellow Inv. Tommy Erwin is always there to help me along the way,” Hatler added. “There is nothing that means more to me than working with children of abuse whether it’s sexual abuse or physical abuse. They are the innocent ones. No child deserves that. I am just fortunate to be involved,” Hatler said. Hatler served as lead investigator for a recent child abuse case that he described as his turning point for wanting to handle child abuse cases. He said the severe abuse inflicted upon Austin Cash last summer was one of the most difficult and unique cases he had ever been involved in. “It makes you appreciate your children are home safe. We have no idea what children are going through in this country every day,” Hatler commented. When dealing with instances of child abuse, many challenges are posed that Hatler said he is not immune to. The investigator shared that people will spend hours and days of their lives wondering “why does this happen to children.” “It’s something that you can research every day and still not come up with any good reasons for why it happens. I often cannot answer that question for family members. My goal is to try my best to make that victim whole again. When you allow a victim to give you a statement, you have validated them and assured them that you don’t think they are telling a lie. That’s what my role is for these children,” Hatler admitted. Hatler also commended the joint effort provided by the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse citing he could not say enough about Lori Hendon and her staff. Of 60 interviews conducted at the Carl Perkins Center within the last year, Hatler was involved with 41 of those cases. He also offers informative sessions during victimology classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin and donates time to the Carl Perkins Telethon. “I want to talk to people about child abuse and bring awareness to it. But it’s not about ‘me,’ it’s about ‘we,’” Hatler shared. Even with the special recognition, Hatler remained humble and admitted he would continue to work on the children’s behalf using the tools he has been provided through training and partnerships among other child advocates of the community. WCP 11.20.08

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