PITTSBURG — In an effort to hold the guilty accountable and help victims and their families heal, Pittsburg Police Department Sergeant Detective Rebekah Lynch works quietly behind the scenes to advocate for the community’s most vulnerable citizens.
Lynch was recently recognized as a 2019 Woman of Distinction by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce. She and 11 others have a short biography and their photograph in the Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 community calendar. People may find the calendar at the chamber office.  
“I am beyond humbled to be recognized this year alongside such talented, influential, and successful women,” Lynch said. “This is truly the most incredible honor; one of which I do not feel worthy.  
“I do want to say congratulations to all of the ‘Women of Distinction’ nominees this year.”   
Lynch works at the Pittsburg Police Department and currently holds the rank of sergeant detective. She assists her lieutenant with the supervision of the day to day operations of the Criminal Investigations Division which includes the Drug Enforcement Unit.  
In addition to her supervision duties, she carries a caseload primarily consisting of sexual assault investigations, child abuse investigations and other person crimes.
“I had considered law enforcement as a career from a young age,” Lynch said. “I was fascinated by fictional detective shows on television, as well as, by shows like ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ and ‘America’s Most Wanted.’
“I loved the concept of unraveling a pattern of facts and evidence to solve a crime. That interest never really faded for me.”
Lynch graduated from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in justice studies in 2004 and in 2005 she began her career in law enforcement as a patrol officer with the Pittsburg Police Department.
“I enjoy most aspects of my job,” she said. “I find it rewarding to help victims of crimes find justice.  It feels good to be part of the process of healing for those victims … I wasn’t necessarily inspired to go into law enforcement by any one person.  I have, however, been inspired to continue my career path by some of the strong, successful women I have had the privilege to work with and for.”
Law enforcement naturally comes with a sense of burnout from time to time, like most other careers, Lynch said.
“When I begin to feel that burnout, I think about the victims I work with, some of them very small children who are unable to advocate for themselves,” she said. “I feel a responsibility to those victims; to help them get through the crime reporting process, through the court process and to help them get to the point where they can begin to heal.  
“I have most often been inspired by the resilience and strength in some of the youngest crime victims I’ve worked with.”
Outside of working at the police department, Lynch volunteers as part of the Pittsburg Sunrise Rotary Club, which she joined in July of 2016.  Every year Rotary club members volunteer time delivering flowers around Valentine’s Day and Mother's Day as part of its club’s fundraising efforts.
“I joined Rotary knowing the service they provide to our local community and world-wide,” she said. “ I wanted to be a part of this global organization’s ‘Service Above Self’ concept.”
She also volunteers at the Lord’s Diner which she finds “the most rewarding.” In the past, she has also volunteered for a home improvement project in conjunction with Hearts and Hammers.
“I feel very fortunate to be where I am in my life and to have the things I have,” Lynch said. “It is a humbling feeling to volunteer in ways that improves the quality of life for those less fortunate, or who have temporarily fallen on hard times.”
Lynch spends as much time as she can with her family. Her favorite pastimes are hiking, camping and “just being outdoors,” she said.
The most influential people in shaping the person Lynch is today are her parents, she said.
“My mother is a woman of quiet strength, of strong Christian faith, who exudes kindness and compassion for others,” Lynch said. “When I was a young child, my mother went to nursing school, graduated successfully and went on to have a successful career as a nurse.  
“This was influential to me in terms of seeing the dedication my mother made to her career, all while managing a household and family, quite well I may add.”
Her father — who has acquired several degrees throughout his life and spent 42 years in the Air Force — values education.
“May dad is also a man of strong Christian faith, who worked with my mom to instill strong morals and values in their children,” Lynch said. “My parents definitely shaped me in terms of knowing the value of hard work, being empathetic, being career driven, and having strong ethical principles.  
“I cannot thank them enough for the sacrifices they made in their life to make my life what it is today.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.