Four months after being appointed to the panel that reviews the state's sex offender registry, a local victims' advocate has been selected to lead it.
Katie Strayhorn was elected chairwoman of the Sexual Offender Registration Board on Jan. 18.
"It is truly an honor to serve as chair of such an important board," Strayhorn said. "I look forward to serving in this new and challenging role."
Made up of victim advocates, law enforcement officers and clinicians, the 15-member board weighs the likelihood that a sexual offender will commit another crime.
It also determines if offenders are considered a level one or two threat or a sexually dangerous predator.
Assessments are used by criminal justice professionals including law enforcement and members of the parole board or department of corrections.
A victim advocate for Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh, Strayhorn has served as director of victim services in the Dawson County office for 13 years.
"Having experience working closely with victims and offenders in both a therapeutic and judicial setting, I hope to bring a balance to the position," Strayhorn said.
"All of the board's decisions are made using research-based evaluations that are completed by licensed mental health professionals."
Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Strayhorn to the board in September.
Darragh said Strayhorn is deserving of the honor.
"Katie's appointment to this board was an excellent decision in the first place," he said. "Her now having been named the board's chairperson is a testament to her ability and experience in the service to victims and to the criminal justice system as a whole."
Strayhorn has a bachelor's degree in social work from Jacksonville State University and is a graduate of the National Victim Assistance Academy at the Medical University of South Carolina.
She also chairs the Dawson County Child Fatality Review Committee and the Child Abuse Protocol Committee in Dawson County, as well as serving on the executive board for Dawson County SafeKids.
Strayhorn and her son live in Lumpkin County.