Columbia Police Detective Emerson “Skip” McGuire, the father of two young children, says working with abused children has deeply affected him.
McGuire has been an officer with the Columbia Police Department since 1983. For the past six years, he’s investigated child abuse and sex crimes — about 130 cases a year — as part of the department’s Family Services Unit. He also instructs officers throughout the state on how to interview children and trains officers in his own department on how to deal with child abuse.
One challenge, he said, is a societal problem of not taking the word of a child over that of an adult, and validating children who have been abused is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.
“As a police officer, you’re part of everyone’s tragedy — it’s nice to be part of the solution,” McGuire said.
Citing his professional dedication, The Children’s Trust Fund on Wednesday presented McGuire with the 2003 Richard
P. Easter Award.
Bill Heberle, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund, a foundation for child abuse prevention, said McGuire was also chosen because of strong letters of recommendation from the state Division of Family Services and the State Technical Assistance Team.
Heberle said he was also impressed by the volunteer work that McGuire has done in the community with organizations such as The Rainbow House.
The Children’s Trust Fund established the award in honor of the late Richard Easter who, at the time of his death, was manager of the State Technical Assistance Team that investigates child deaths.