Howard Black has understood the importance of working with abused and neglected children for a long time.
Born in Northern California, Howard moved to Colorado Springs to work at the Air Force Academy before spending thirty-six years serving with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). Over his long and successful career with law enforcement, Howard witnessed just how critical providing children with dedicated advocacy in traumatic situations is.
“Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect are not going away. Being in law enforcement, I’ve seen all sorts of horrific cases involving children in adverse circumstances. It is humbling to be the first line of response to kids in dire need, and so important to lead with empathy as you help them navigate away from danger.”
One of Howard’s hallmark contributions while with CSPD was founding and serving as the Director of DVERT (Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team), which he ran from the mid-90s to 2003.
“DVERT came about as we saw violence against women and children reaching ever higher levels in El Paso County. To counteract this trend, the CSPD collaborated with local nonprofits, faith groups, neighborhood groups, businesses and the County to enhance our support systems for those experiencing abuse and to be more proactive in the prevention of violence. I think that program really set our community in the right direction, and I am proud of the connections between agencies and individuals that still exist today.
Service to those in times of need is a family affair for Howard. His wife, Janet, spent many years at the helm of TESSA, an organization providing support for women, children and other victims escaping abuse. Together, they have developed a deep understanding of the ways abuse and neglect can have profound impact on youth and have spent decades in the fight to protect our children.
In his quasi-retirement, Howard joined the District Attorney’s office as the Chief Communications Officer. Serving directly in the court system has given Howard a new lens on crimes involving children and how to educate the community on prevention.
“Since coming to the DA’s office, my team and I have been strategic about how we talk about crimes against children. We want to make sure that we are educating the public about just how big of an issue it is, but in a way that garners action, not despair.”
Howard has served on many Colorado Springs boards and commissions and has served as Board Chair at CASA since last July. Thank you for your service to the children of our community, Howard.