Fort Collins Safe Futures, Investing in Community Safety
Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) is excited to announce the creation of a Criminalist position that will be working full time on child exploitation and sex trafficking. We are calling this initiative Safe Futures. This new position is a non-sworn employee, furthering FCPS’ initiative to not have police officers doing work that doesn’t require powers of arrest and all the other training officers go through. FCPS has been creating an environment that centers the needs of victims, not just the traditional duties of police officers. As such, FCPS has non-sworn staff working investigations in forensics, fraud, and now cybercrimes. These positions have traditionally been served by uniformed police officers. This new approach offers a proactive, comprehensive victim-centered aspect to public safety and leverages candidates from accounting, criminal justice, and forensic disciplines, who desire to serve their community but do not want to be police officers.
Charitable partnerships provide a transparent pathway for the City of Fort Collins to launch and measure the outcomes of “proof of concept” programs. Safe Futures is generously supported by local congregations, generous residents and U COUNT, a Fort Collins-based anti-human trafficking organization fighting global and local sex trafficking through prevention, awareness, and restoration.
“Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world generating what experts conservatively estimate of $150B annually in profit to traffickers,“ said Greg Dix, Co-Founder of U COUNT. “And unfortunately, it happens right here in our Northern Colorado communities.”
“Through partnerships with front-line organizations, U COUNT provides a local vocational unit for survivors, help those exiting with emergency funds, and works to engage and educate our community,” said Vicky Dix, Co-Founder of U COUNT. “And, support local initiatives, such as Safe Futures, in a commitment to focus on the sexual exploitation of children in our community and those being trafficked.”
U COUNT is an anti-human trafficking organization that has been fighting global and local sex trafficking through prevention, awareness, and restoration initiatives since 2007. U COUNT fights trafficking on three fronts: Global Projects, Local Efforts and Marketplace Initiatives. For 15 years U COUNT has raised and donated over $2.7M to help support front-line organizations and sell over $1M in products handmade by women both locally and globally who are at risk or who have exited sex trafficking.
City Gives is an “in-house” initiative that enables the City of Fort Collins to respond to strategic priorities and community needs that fall outside the city budget. City Gives transparent, non-partisan governance structure upholds the public’s trust in our ability to honor donor intent and make meaningful investments in our community.
We are pleased to announce that Laura Knudsen will serve as our new Criminalist who will fill this new role full time. Laura’s position and work will help to ensure that our children are safe and investigate cases where they have been exploited. Laura’s efforts will focus on education, prevention, and investigations to hold those who prey on our vulnerable, accountable for their actions. Empowering those who have been victimized and providing resources that they may need is an effort that we fully support and are grateful for our community’s support as well.
“We are continually looking at new ways to allow for people to serve our community from a public safety standpoint, and by developing new non-sworn positions allows many to do just that. Child exploitation and trafficking can affect any community, and that is why we are being proactive and innovative to ensure that this type of crime does not gain any foothold in our community. We are routinely amazed by the generosity of so many in our Fort Collins community, and because of that, I am confident we will one day reach our goal of becoming the safest community in the nation,” said Chief Jeff Swoboda.