By Barney Blakeney
Charleston native Laquilla Simmons last week joined Charleston Police Department as its Family Violence Unit’s first resource specialist. The 2005 Burke High school graduate’s primary responsibility will be to connect the victims of violent crimes, their families and caregivers with available resources. And she will work with community partners to create additional resources for victims of crime.
Ms. Simmons earned a B.S Degree from South Carolina State University, a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and Psychology from Springfield College in 2012 and a second Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina in 2017. For the past three years she has been employed at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Department of Guest Services. She also worked part time at Carolina Youth Development Center providing one-on-one interventions to youth and their families.
As a member of the CPD Family Violence Unit Simmons, who served as an intern with the unit last year joins coordinator Catreece Smalls and four other members in the unit created by retired Chief Greg Mullen in 2013. Simmons says her youth is an asset she feels will enable her to relate to many of those she will come into contact with through the unit. That insight will help her better understand their family dynamics and direct them to appropriate resources.
Last year, the unit served 1,621 adults and 365 children. Smalls said Simmons’ arrival to the unit increases its ability to serve a growing population. Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said the unit’s goal is to provide support to victims of crime. Simmons’ role enables them to receive more assistance. He encourages victims of violent crimes to take advantage of the added resource Simmons brings to the unit.
Simmons can be reached at CPD headquarters at 180 Lockwood Blvd. Her phone number is (843) 720-2457.