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Friday, August 15, 2003

Tacoma looking around the country for examples - KOMOTV News

...Tacoma is looking around the country for examples of successful domestic violence prevention programs within police departments... But the [Clark County] sheriff admits you may not always be able to prevent domestic violence within his ranks. Partly, because some alleged victims fear their spouse will lose his or her job...

Domestic Violence Among Police
KOMOTV
By Keith Eldridge
Aug 15, 2003

VANCOUVER, WASH - David Brame and his wife Crystal appeared to be the perfect couple. But after he took her life and his own, the tragic truth came out.

Crystal was afraid of her husband.

But she was also afraid to complain to police because he was one of their own.

Now the Tacoma mayor and interim police chief want a system in place to handle domestic violence cases involving police officers and their spouses.

Tacoma is looking around the country for examples of successful domestic violence prevention programs within police departments. There aren't many, but a leading program is just down I-5 in Vancouver, Washington.

The Clark County Sheriff's office has what is being touted as one of the best prevention and reporting programs in the nation.

The program has a set of protocols for responding to 911 calls for help from police officer wives and husbands. A supervisor is immediately called to the scene, and 911 tapes are preserved. There is an established system for how the investigations are to be handled, and there are specific penalties for investigating officers who do not respond appropriately.

"Victims are going to get the support they need to get them through the system, and there's going to be a thorough investigation," Sheriff Garry Lucas explains. "Based upon that, reports are going to be submitted to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor is going to have to make a decision about what they're going to do."

But the sheriff admits you may not always be able to prevent domestic violence within his ranks. Partly, because some alleged victims fear their spouse will lose his or her job.

"There is a reluctance on the part of some victims to report," says Sheriff Lucas. "So I can't say with absolute assurance that if you enact a policy that is similar to Clark County's that you're never going to have an issue of domestic violence in your organization."

But at least there's a plan in place to give wives and husbands the assurance that they'll be handled fairly.

http://www.komotv.com/stories/26653.htm

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