Members of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center (SBRCC) celebrated the group’s 30-year partnership with Santa Barbara’s finest over coffee, ham and eggs Thursday at the annual Law Enforcement Recognition Breakfast.

The SBRCC hosted the breakfast, which was held at 8 a.m. at Moby Dick Restaurant in Santa Barbara, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Approximately 50 members of the SBRCC, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept., Santa Barbara Police Dept. and UC Police Dept. attended the event. SBRCC Program Director Alana Walczak said she hoped the breakfast would showcase her organization’s strong ties to local law enforcement.

“We wanted the media here this year because we are proud of the relationship that exists and want the community to recognize this strong rapport between us as well,” Walczak said.

SBPD Police Chief Cam Sanchez said the two organizations work together to create a better environment for victims of rape.

“The partnership between the Santa Barbara Police Dept. and Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center is a critical one that allows us all to play key roles in addressing the needs of sexual violence victims,” he said. “It improves the totality of services provided, because the victims and their families realize that they are not alone due to this collaborative, which places the victim first and foremost.”

According to the SBRCC website, the center has helped more than 10,000 survivors of sexual assault and their significant others over the last 30 years, aiding such survivors with one-on-one counseling, a 24-hour crisis hotline and long-term support. The group also provides rape prevention and education services, which include guest lectures at local schools and self-defense workshops.

UCPD Capt. Michael Foster said he feels that the SBRCC’s work helps balance the role local law enforcement plays when dealing with sexual assault cases.

“The services offered by the Santa Barbara Rape Center are a critical part of the healing process for the survivor, which in return, greatly assists [law enforcement] in getting the crucial information for an investigation,” Foster said.

Walczak said she hoped the event underscored the respect and gratitude the two agencies have for each other.

“[It was a] great opportunity to express our thanks to the law enforcement for all of their work, and for our staff and their staff to meet face-to-face and build a rapport that will ultimately help the survivor,” she said.

The SBRCC will be holding several more events in April to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. More information can be found on the organization’s website,