Citrus County, FL) Today, April 21st, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Detective Tiffany Barry of the Special Victims Unit (SVU) was presented with the 2020 Distinguished Victim Services Award by Attorney General Ashley Moody. Det. Barry was recognized for her outstanding contributions in serving crime victims, and she was one of only seven law enforcement officers in the entire State of Florida to receive this award for 2020.

“Detective Barry exemplifies the vision, mission, and values of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, and we are proud to have her represent this agency,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “She showed great tenacity and perseverance in this case, refusing to give up on seeking justice for this juvenile victim. Detective Barry truly went above and beyond, utilizing every available resource, and her efforts deserve to be recognized.  Her inspirational actions reflect not only on the CCSO, but upon the profession of law enforcement as a whole.”

On September 23, 2020, it was reported to CCSO that an unknown male had entered a residence and exposed his genitalia to a 10-year-old child that was home alone. The unknown male fled the area before deputies arrived on scene. Det. Barry worked closely with the young victim of this case to complete a composite sketch of the male suspect.  She then went door to door conducting a neighborhood canvass, where after multiple attempts, she was able to obtain the name of a resident whose description matched the composite sketch.

Det. Barry interviewed the suspect who initially denied entering the victim’s residence and exposing himself to her. After compiling a photo array containing this suspect, the victim positively identified him as the male who had entered the residence and exposed himself.  The victim’s mother also identified the suspect as a male she had observed in the area of her residence immediately following the incident. After conducting a second interview with the suspect, Det. Barry was able to obtain probable cause and placed him under arrest.

Throughout this case, Det. Barry refused to give up on her victim and worked aggressively to identify and arrest this suspect.  Her actions went above and beyond the scope of her normal duties, making sure the victim and victim’s mother stayed at a safe location until the suspect was identified and taken into custody.  Det. Barry continued to assist the family by making sure they were able to attend appointments at a local child advocacy center. During this entire process, she was able to observe the family’s financial situation, where she took the initiative to arrange for the victim and a sibling to attend the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office annual Shop with a Cop event, where Christmas gifts and meals are provided to families in need.  Going one step further, Det. Barry knew that the family did not have transportation for the event, so she took it upon herself to transport the family there and arranged for their gifts to be delivered to their residence.

This case could easily have gone inactive, with no suspect identification, if it were not for the relentless attitude of Det. Barry.  She went far beyond the normal course of her duties to seek justice in this case and to ensure the victim and the victim’s family received the needed follow up services.  Det. Barry’s thorough investigation resulted in the suspect’s arrest, making the community a safer place.  She worked tirelessly to find closure for her victim, helping them begin to heal and regain their sense of safety.