'Such a big issue': Fairfield detective honored for work with domestic and sexual violence

Detective Kerry Dalling, a 24-year veteran of the Fairfield Police Department, has been named The Center for Family Justice 2021 "Partner of the Year."

Detective Kerry Dalling, a 24-year veteran of the Fairfield Police Department, has been named The Center for Family Justice 2021 “Partner of the Year.”

Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD — Over the past few years, Detective Kerry Dalling, a 24-year veteran of the Fairfield Police Department, has found a passion in investigating and helping survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Dalling’s passion recently earned her The Center for Family Justice 2021 “Partner of the Year” award. It’s an honor given to someone who supports the center’s mission of providing services to more than 4,300 victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse each year.

“I am grateful to have even been considered for this award,” Dalling said. “I am one small part of a team of exceptional people who are dedicated to serving families impacted by domestic violence. Being a partner of the Center for Family Justice has helped me to understand domestic violence in a much more meaningful way, as it has allowed me to gain insight into some of the more complex issues that victims and families face.”

She said her experiences with the center have made her a better police officer and helped her better serve the community.

“I am grateful to the Center for their partnership and to the leadership of the Fairfield Police Department for their support,” Dalling said.

Dalling’s road to receiving the partner of the year award began when she was 21 while in the Air Force. She was searching for the next step as her enlistment started to come to an end in 1996.

She found it on a police ride along.

“Law enforcement just felt like a good fit so I went for a ride along with the police department out in Las Vegas where I was stationed and I fell in love with it in one day,” she said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

She joined the Fairfield department in 1997.

Early in Dalling’s career as a detective, she was presented an opportunity to become certified by the Officers Standards and Training Council to teach other officers about domestic and sexual violence. She currently teaches basic recruit academy, which lasts 16 hours and covers domestic violence laws, dynamics and other basic learning requirements for recruit officers. She also runs a re-certification training, which is goes over legal updates on domestic violence.

At the time, Dalling didn’t have much interest in doing it, however she decided “if the department gives you an opportunity, you take it.”

Since 2016, Dalling has worked on site at the center on a weekly basis to provide her expertise to victims who come to the center seeking help.

“Detective Dalling is such a valued partner, who approaches her investigations not only with a tremendous amount of skill, but with incredible empathy for the trauma victims who have been abused,” said Debra A Greenwood, the center’s president and CEO. “Presenting this award to Kerry is just a small token of appreciation for her dedication to this challenging law enforcement work which she carries out with so much compassion and for the support she also provides to our staff who rely on her skill and expertise to help keep our clients safe from abuse.”

Fairfield Police Chief Robert Kalamaras called Dalling’s achievement “well-deserved.”

“Detective Dalling has utilized her expertise investigating crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault to educate, advocate and implement change,” Kalamaras said. “It is an honor that The Center for Family Justice has recognized Detective Dalling for this award. Her work and continued partnership with CFJ will undoubtedly help improve the lives of many victims in our community.”

Dalling believes the biggest lesson she has learned since being involved at the center is that “it’s a team effort.” Police, advocates, attorneys, prosecutors and many others all play vital roles when dealing with domestic or sexual violence.

“It’s just such a big issue that it can’t just be solved by one,” Dalling said. “These families, it’s very complex the issues that they face and they require a lot of support in a lot of different areas.”