To: Laramie County DUI Victim Impact Panel

In 1993, I was hired as the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Cheyenne Police Department. I had moved here from Rawlins, Wyoming, where I was Coordinator for the Carbon County Substance Abuse Task Force. While in Rawlins, I started one of the first two Victim Impact Panels in the State of Wyoming. Together with the Coordinator of the Task Force in Fremont County, we began networking on what a panel would look like since this had not been previously attempted in Wyoming. Following some of the criteria from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), I researched traffic accident reports at the Highway Patrol, Police Department and Sheriff’s Department. There were no victim advocates in law enforcement or in prosecutor’s offices at the time, so finding individuals who might be willing to share their stories in front of a room full of DUI offenders was difficult. I contacted many families who had never had a victim advocate after they lost a loved one or were injured themselves due to a drunk driving crash. This process was daunting for me and painful for the families to relive their loss.

When I started working at the Cheyenne Police Department, and after responding to two DUI crashes where young people were killed, I felt we needed to start a panel in Cheyenne to raise awareness of this national, state and local problem. I contacted the Victim Witness Coordinator from the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office and one of the counselors from Pathfinders. Together we formed the first DUI Victim Impact Panel in Cheyenne which was held on June 26th, 1995 at LCCC. The panels continue every other month to this day, and the local courts and probation officers continue to send DUI offenders. The hope has always been that in listening to the impact drunk driving crashes has had on the mothers, fathers, siblings and children speaking on the panel, that those in the audience will make a better choice when faced with the decision of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after they have been drinking. I have no doubt that the brave individuals who have shared their painful experiences and the many individuals it takes to keep the panel active after all these years have saved many lives.


Shirley Martinez

Founder and first Coordinator

D.U.I. Victim Impact Panel   |   P.O. Box 94   |   Cheyenne, WY 82003

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