More resources are coming online for the Hutto community. The City of Hutto and Hutto Police Department are honored to launch a victims’ advocacy program, with Khila Coleman leading the helm. The first-of-its-kind program in Hutto aims to support and defend the rights of crime victims and witnesses.
Coleman joined Team Hutto as the City’s first-ever victims assistance coordinator last month, where she immediately began laying the foundation of the program. Her main responsibilities include collaborating with government and social service entities to improve planning for victim services and to help reduce the impact of crime on the community.
She interacts directly with victims of crime to provide safety planning, referrals to appropriate resources, information about the legal system, and details about the investigation process.
“I am that buffer between law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” Coleman said. “I make sure that anybody that is a victim of crime has the opportunity to have their voices heard.”
While the crime rate continues to remain low in the community, the Hutto Police Department aims to add another layer of service through this program. Coleman serves as a wealth of resources for victims, offering connections to anything they might need, from food and housing to mental health assistance and much more. In addition, she allows for investigators and law enforcement to focus on their job while ensuring victims are cared for and given the opportunity to grieve and ask questions.
A resident of Hutto, Coleman is uniquely positioned to support the Hutto Police Department in launching a program of this kind. After earning dual Bachelor’s degrees in public administration and criminal justice with a minor in sociology, she completed her Master’s degree in public policy and administration with a concentration in governance. She began her career with the Los Angeles Superior Court before working in the criminal district court in Dallas County prior to relocating to Central Texas.
She also spent seven years as a probation officer. In that role, she assisted with victims’ advocacy, interacting face-to-face with both victims and criminals.
“It allowed me to see both sides,” Coleman said. “it opened my eyes to this world of advocacy and how much the victim does matter in the judicial system because we often find that the victim is forgotten.”
As the City of Hutto continues to grow, Coleman envisions the victims’ assistance program growing alongside the community, eventually with a team of volunteers and staff that help provide resources to victims and residents alike.
“I think it’s important that people know that we’re here, and that we’re not just for criminal activity,” Coleman said. “If people ever need any type of resource, they can always reach out. I want to help the whole community because this is something that is a passion of mine. I want the community to know that we’re here for them and we have their best interests at heart.”