2009 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
West Virginia Child Abduction Prevention Program
Mrs. Michelle Riggs is a familiar face not only in Harrison County, but also throughout the state of West Virginia for coordinating the West Virginia Child Abduction Prevention Program (WVCAPP).
On December 31, 2004, Mrs. Riggs and her family were seriously endangered when someone broke into their home during the middle of the night while the family was sleeping. The intruder was unsuccessful in attempting to kidnap the Riggs’ daughter, but did physically assault her, causing injuries to her face, before fleeing from the Riggs’ home. The perpetrator was tried in court, convicted, and is now serving time in the state penitentiary.
The WVCAPP consists of volunteers from law enforcement, the Harrison County Prosecutor's Office, the state legislature, and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. The purpose of the WVCAPP is to educate parents about the dangers of child abduction and to get the assistance of state and local lawmakers to change and establish laws for the protection of children.
After meeting with the state legislature and governor, Mrs. Riggs was instrumental in getting language added to the Child Protection Act of 2006 to prohibit the accused in a violent crime against a child from living within 1,000 feet of the victim. In support of the WVCAPP, Mrs. Riggs held town hall meetings with various guest speakers. The presentations were extremely beneficial to parents, lawmakers, and the Board of Education.
While working for the AmberView Program and serving as a member of the AmberView Advisory committee, Mrs. Riggs traveled to FBI Headquarters, where she met with FBI officials to gain their support and input for developing a law enforcement and media advisory for missing and endangered people who did not come under the purview of Amber Alert or Silver Alert.
During the summer of 2008, Mrs. Riggs joined the Bridgeport Police Department as a victim's advocate so she could continue her journey to help people who are victims of crime. Mrs. Riggs was instrumental in getting the approval for an endangered and missing person advisory for people reported missing within the corporate limits of Bridgeport.
In addition to her role as a victim’s advocate, she found time to write six grants to fund training, equipment, and manpower for the city of Bridgeport. Mrs. Riggs has established herself as a community leader. Her dedication will have a lasting effect on our community.