Prosecutor’s tireless advocate is honored

The yearly award for outstanding work in the prosecutor's office was given to longtime employee Shannon Crull, victim assistance specialist, by Prosecutor Brent Eaton. (Kristy Deer | Daily Reporter)  By Kristy Deer | Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY — Every crime victim whose case makes its way through the county courts is assisted by Shannon Crull.

The county prosecutor’s victim assistant specialist handles as many as 500 cases at a time, and that doesn’t even include the hundreds of juvenile cases on which she also works daily.

Crull can often be found in a courtroom sitting near a victim or the victim’s family offering support as their cases make their way through the courts. That includes meeting or talking with victims from the minute a case is filed and seeing it through until the case is closed.

Earlier this week, Prosecutor Brent Eaton and Michelle Poppino, director of operations, surprised Crull and presented her with an office award given each year to the person who goes above and beyond and does outstanding work to help crime victims. Crull walked into Poppino’s office on Monday, April 19, thinking she was going to a meeting until Eaton walked in with the award and presented it to her.

“What is this?” Crull asked in surprise when she was given the award.

When her colleagues started clapping, tears started flowing and Crull was left speechless when she realized she was being honored for her hard work. Crull received several hugs and many pats on the back from the prosecutor’s staff. She said she was a little in shock at getting the honor, one Eaton likes to hand out yearly except for last year because of COVID-19.

The pandemic forced the prosecutor’s office to adapt and learn how to continue to support victims. That’s when, Eaton said, Crull shined brightest.

“She just rose to the occasion and was able to keep the critical part of our focus and responsibility together during a really difficult time,” Eaton said.

Crull has worked for the prosecutor’s office since 2004 when she first helped with child support services, before taking over the job as victim assistant specialist in 2016. Those who work with her daily and see firsthand what she does for the office and victims said she flourishes in the demanding, nonstop role.

“She makes personal sacrifices to be with victims when they’re going through some of the most difficult moments of their life,” said Aimee Herring, the chief deputy prosecutor. “She reaches the victims and gives them the communication that they need and makes sure we know what we need to.”

Herring added the office would not run as effectively as it does without Crull’s assistance and her ability to work with so many different people inside and outside of the office.

Crull has one of the more difficult jobs in the prosecutor’s office, getting close to the victims and families to make sure they’re comfortable and feel justice is served when a case wraps up. She often escorts, sits with and walks with victims and their families as a sign of support during trials to let them know they are not alone as they seek justice.

“The other thing about Shannon is she’s just a really empathetic person,” Eaton said. “She makes great efforts to understand victims and where things stand, even on things that are really challenging, and she reminds the prosecutors to see things through the victim’s perspectives.”

Probably the thing Eaton appreciates most about Crull is her willingness to serve and her patience, he said. Crull comes from a family of community servants. Her father currently works for the Sheriff’s Department at the county courthouse after many years in law enforcement, and her son is an officer with the Greenfield Police Department. Blake Crull received GPD’s highest award for pulling an injured woman from a burning vehicle last year.

Shannon Crull is known for working more than her allotted 32 hours a week and will often spring into action at a moment’s notice. It’s that kind of compassion that makes her a special employee, her boss said.

“She drops what she is doing and she goes,” Eaton said. “She’s not doing this for money, but because she loves Hancock County and she wants this community to be safe.”