The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has tapped a longtime crime victims’ rights advocate for its office who has a personal connection that adds to his passion for the job.
John W. Gillis, whose previous experience includes working for the Los Angeles Police Department for more than two decades and seven years with the U.S. Department of Justice as the National Director for its Office of Victims of Crime, was named the Chief of the County Attorney’s Victim Services Division, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announced on Monday.
Gillis became a passionate advocate for victims’ rights after the 1979 murder of his 23-year-old daughter, Lourarna Gillis, by a Los Angeles gang member seeking to buy his way into the Mexican mafia by killing the daughter of a police officer. At the time, Gillis was a sergeant with the LAPD and had just completed a two-year assignment with the department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division, according to the county attorney’s office.
In 2001, Gillis was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as the Department of Justice’s national director for office for victims of crime.
Montgomery said in a statement, “John Gillis has dedicated his personal and professional life to serving the unique and often overlooked needs of crime victims. The citizens of Maricopa County are truly fortunate to have someone with his passion and breadth of experience working on their behalf in this critical area of our criminal justice system.”