Former Police Officer Becomes Victim’s Advocate

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - A former St. Louis police officer who was nearly murdered while off-duty trying to save her friend, has a new job.  

Isabella Lovadina was shot five times in a deadly home invasion in south St. Louis in 2009.  She was unarmed and off-duty.

She was introduced as the new court advocate for the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative (CWENSI), Wednesday night.

It's now her job to get crime victims and community volunteers into court to push judges to be tough on criminals.  She'll also help those crime victims through the trauma of court; who better for that.  

"At the end of the day, we selected the most obvious choice, and that was Isabella Lovadina," said CWENSI Executive Director, Jim Whyte.   

Lovadina told FOX 2 it was a "perfect fit."

In the initial months after the shootings she was determined to return to police work and thought about being a paramedic.

But the physical and emotional scars of being shot five times as her friend, Gina Stallis was shot and killed, made a return to the streets too much bear.

She can no longer "run around after people with guns," she said.   

But she also said her passion to serve burned stronger than ever.  

Whyte said there was no one better for the role.  Her experience of facing down her assailants during sentencing a year ago certainly backs that up.

"It doesn't bring any joy to me to know that you're going to a really horrible place for the rest of your life.  That doesn't make me feel any better.  What I want is for you to be sorry," Lovadina told convicted killer, Mario Coleman, who received multiple life sentences.  

"All of that gives her instant credibility when she walks into a courtroom; credibility with the judges, with the prosecutors and certainly with the victims who she's helping through the process," Whyte said.

"I don't know of a stronger person that there is:  wounded severely, fighting through that whole process that night, the long recovery period that she had, going to court which I'm sure was very emotional, stressful time for her, and now coming out and helping other people do it, that's a success story," said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.    

Earlier this month, St. Louis judge Calea Stovall-Reid sentenced a man who shot at police with an assault rifle to four years in prison.  The prosecutor asked for 20.  Lovadina said she would have loved to have had a chance to have in impact on that one.

In March, she's leading "victim support" training course.  She's looking for people to sign up.  

For more information go to CWENSI.COM.

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