Local Leaders | Denise Pinckney
by The Press and Standard | July 27, 2018 11:59 am
Denise Pinckney is a superhero. She is the one you want on your side if the unthinkable happens.
As the Walterboro Police Department’s Crime Victims Advocate Program coordinator for the past 11 years, Pinckney admittedly loves her job. During a 19-year career with the department, she has undoubtedly seen a lot.
“I love my job because it allows God to use me as his vessel to give others hope in their time of sorrow and be the light in darkness,” said Pinckney. “My job is not about me, but what God is doing through me for his purpose.
“I love this community because the people here have a genuine love for one another,” she said. “When someone in the community is down on their luck, there is always someone who wants to rally up some help to assist the person in need. It is that sense of community and commitment to each other that I love — meaning we will all do our part to take care of each other and not allow our neighbors to be left behind. We are our brother’s keeper.”
A cause near and dear to her heart is a newly formed sexual assault support group. “It is one of my biggest accomplishments,” said Pinckney. “This support group will help sexual assault crime victims with the aftermath of the crime, which is the healing process. This allows them to breathe and release. This also allows them to tell their story to other victims of the same crime who can relate to what they may be feeling or going through.
“In all my years of assisting sexual assault crime victims, it wasn’t until recently, when I struggled to reach the victim in one case,” said Pinckney. “No matter how hard I tried, I felt like I wasn’t doing all that I could. I was determined to find a way to help her with her healing process. I prayed about it and then came a vision to organize the sexual assault support group. It was an answer to my prayer.”
Pinckney’s wish for Colleton County it is a humble, selfless one. “The one project and dream that I have for Colleton County is to have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE),” she said. “For many years now, I have been transporting sexual assault crime victims to MUSC to get a sexual assault examination completed. It takes courage and strength for these crime victims to come forth and report a detrimental crime such as this sexual assault. They are humiliated and ashamed. They must first speak with the responding officer at the crime scene, then be transported to our local hospital to be examined to ensure they are stable and then released to be transported to MUSC. Upon arrival, we then wait another hour or two for the on-call SANE nurse to arrive. By this time, the victim has had to recount what happened to the responding officer, myself as the advocate, the local nurse and doctor, and finally tell the intake nurse and SANE nurse at MUSC. Then, adding insult to injury, by this time the victim has been transported from the crime scene in the soiled crime scene clothing she had on during the rape to the local hospital then to MUSC. This is a continuation of re-victimizing the crime victim and it is unacceptable and humiliating.
“It is my goal to have this long-time problem rectified in the future,” said Pinckney. “I am my victim’s keeper. I am the voice for the voiceless. It is my duty to ensure that my crime victims are less re-victimized as possible.”
The 43-year-old Pinckney was born, raised and lived here her entire life. For her, living in the Lowcountry means no one ever meets a stranger. She is married to the love of her life, Dolphus Pinckney, and is blessed with three beautiful children: Amberlynn Pinckney (23), Justin Allan Pinckney (19) and Hunter Ashton Pinckney (17).