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Friday, June 26, 2009

[WA] "...My daughter is gone, but there are so many others living just as she did, feeling they have nowhere to turn..."

In August of 2004 a papa wrote for help from those who are empowered to make big things happen. He wrote United States Senators and Congresspersons, asking for a federal law bearing his daughter's name after she was fatally shot in her police chief husband's murder-suicide.

What this father wanted made sense, was clearly needed, and together with the collective sorrow and horror of what appeared likely to be his daughter's NEEDLESS death, they agreed to act.

The resulting federal legislation is named The Crystal Judson Domestic Violence Protocol Program. It was added to the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Act, allowing law enforcement agencies, registered nonprofit victim agencies, and local governments access to federal grant money for addressing officer-involved domestic violence [oidv] through training and services.


It is beautiful that this federal action bears Crystal's name because her story absolutely ignites change in the hearts of victims everywhere, over and over again. Her remembrance makes us wiser, braver, and more alert for our lives.


I cannot count the number of women who have told me that hearing about what Crystal went through, together with her ultimate fate, changed or saved their lives.

It is awesome that these available funds can be accessed now, though not by victims directly, nor by those working with these victims on a grassroots level where they tend to feel more secure and hidden. We don't know who does access the funds, if they are accessed, or how they are used by any of the narrowly defined recipients.

But I do know that things have not gotten any better yet. I am the story-keeper. I do know that this special class of victims are still terrified, still being murdered, still have no supported / protected place to turn, and are still constantly overcome with hopelessness.

It is a battle to breathe.


EVERY ADVANCE IS A GOOD ADVANCE AND EVERY EFFORT SO FAR HAS BEEN A STEP FORWARD - WITH NO REGRETS, yet I am going to be the first one to say this out loud:

What Lane Judson asked for is not what he got.

NO PART of what he asked for was granted him in behalf of all the victims like his daughter living in fear for their lives.
This, below, is what he asked for, and it is still the foundation of what we need.

HE has done his part. He has begun the process. He should spend more time now loving his adoring wife, his lovely living daughter, and his 2 beautiful grandchildren who no longer have their mother or father.

We should let him rest his broken heart in the circle of those who need him most.

The rest of this is left to us now.



Dear Congressperson

On April 26, 2003 my daughter Crystal DeEtte Brame ( nee Judson ) was brutally murdered by her husband, David Brame, then-Chief of Police in Tacoma Washington, leaving two very beautiful children as orphans and a memory of their mother and father both bleeding profusely from gunshots to the head. The children were nearby as their father brought them with him to the parking lot where he ran into Crystal and fatally shot her and then himself. The children were the first ones on the scene to witness this horrific tragedy. My goal is to do everything I can, as I promised crystal in the hospital, towards making sure that no other families are left as unassisted as my daughter was. My daughter is gone, but there are so many others living just as she did, feeling they have nowhere to turn.

I had a vision while holding my daughter Crystal's hand as she struggled for her life at Harborview Hospital in Seattle - a strong fight that she lost. I promised her that I would do everything I can to help others like her be able to access help, and survive: "The Crystal Clear Act"

That is one of the largest obstacles for those impacted by officer-involved domestic violence - where to turn for help. All the victims of this form of domestic violence that I have talked with directly or have read about in the many articles since my daughter's murder, share the same fears and obstacles as my Crystal did. They find it frighteningly futile, or too high-risk to try to get help from the local police and neighboring police agencies who work closely together. They don't have confidence in regular domestic violence services and shelters because they know that law enforcement personnel have such wide-spread access to people and information that would be inaccessible to others, and often other officer's wives may volunteer there. Reporting a domestic violence incident puts the victim at more risk. In this 21st century, we need legislation that would minimize these dangers and fears, and allow a reporting method that helps both the victim as well as the accused of domestic violence within all our police agencies.

In the aftermath of this heinous crime, the State of Washington has taken on a profound leadership role in addressing this problem with all police agencies in this state. This was accomplished by an Ad Hoc committee of more than 60 members - consisting of lawyers, law enforcement personnel, judges, State Representatives, attorneys, city employees, domestic violence advocates, and many others - working together to develop a law for the legislature to enact and then to be signed by Governor Gary Locke, which happened on March 15, 2004.

I personally thank each and every one of the members of the committee, the legislature and our Governor, who made Washington State's law happen in less than one year. It is strong leadership that has taken the position that domestic violence is an issue that affects every one in our community. All other police agencies in Washington will have there policies in place in the near future.

Federal Legislation: The Crystal Clear Act

The vision of The Crystal Clear Act is that any law enforcement agency in the United States - from border to border and from coast to coast - that requests any kind grants, matching funds, or other assistance from the Federal Government must have an effective domestic violence policy and set of clear procedures in place before any funds are issued.

The federal government could establish a basic standard that all jurisdictions at all levels must have in place as the standard. The basic standard is required as part of the contract to receive any funds. This standard should include but not be limited to:

- Education, Training, and Retraining
- Methods to report abuse without retribution
- Counseling and assistance with safety for the said victim
- Intervention and support for the said accused
- A formal accountability system

Each jurisdictional level of government would be responsible to implement their own processes and procedures to meet the minimum requirements of this legislation.

Education, Training, and Retraining

The minimum education and training requirements required can probably best be defined by people such as the authors and contributors of Tacoma Washington's policy, since months of specific and indepth research was gathered to select what would be most effective and workable. I imagine that would include training on officer-involved domestic violence, preventative measures, early warning signs, and what the effects of domestic violence are on the community and in the workplace. The training should include current domestic violence laws, prevention of domestic violence and where the victim can get help. Retraining should be done continuously on new or revised laws, an update on community domestic violence resources and a signing form that says they have received the training.

Methods to report abuse without retribution

Victims of abuse must have a place that they can report the abuse and have it investigated by a unbiased organization. Here again, current advocacy groups may be the best source of information to establish a standard. We don't want to tell them how to do their job, but give them the guidelines of what is expected, and where and how to report abusive situations, even if it is a neighbor, friend, or relatives in need of help. The victim must be protected from the abuser, and understand that the report will be kept in strict confidence. Most victims of officer-involved domestic violence, understandably, have very serious reservations about picking up the phone and dialing 911 to report the abuse.

Counseling and Assistance

In order to best avoid tragedy, career loss, or an abusive relationship, as well as the resulting liabilities, all parties of an intimate partnership need a place where they can get quality counseling. Ideally this would include minors effected by the relationship as well. Counseling should be provided by an agency outside of the involved law enforcement department, and assuredly confidential. Without these tools most caught in domestic violence will never heal the relationships or their lives on their own. New skills and information is mandatory.

Accountability System

Accountability would be at the local, state, county, city, township, or municipal government level that requested the initial funds, matching funds, or method(s) that funding was requested from. What this means is that any law enforcement agency that requests funds must assure that they do not knowingly have any employee(s) currently engaged in any form domestic violence against a spouse, relative, friend, neighbor, or other persons to their knowledge. Any agency that has an employee that commits domestic violence, and the city, county, or state it represents makes no attempt to intervene, would be required to repay the federal funds to the government and/or be fined an additional amount for failure to abide by this law if they knowingly had information that police perpetrated domestic violence was being committed at the time the funds were requested.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A NATIONAL EPIDEMIC, CAUSING HEALTH PROBLEMS, ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS, AND DESTROYING COUNTLESS LIVES IN WAYS IMMEASURABLE.. It affects men, women, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, neighbors, friends, and co-workers across our nation, OF EVERY SOCIAL STATUS, ETHNICITY, AND BELIEF SYSTEM.

Federal funds are the taxes that all Americans pay to insure that we have laws in place to protect our citizens from things such as domestic violence. With your help we can take another step toward making the quality of life better across these United States.

As my daughter Crystal D. Brame nee (Judson) and I feel we are the co-authors/owners of this idea, we would ask if it could be called "THE CRYSTAL CLEAR" law or act in her honor for leading the way to help all those who are abused and afraid to come forward and report police perpetrated domestic violence.

Periodic Psychological Evaluations

And lastly, though I am not sure how or if it can be incorporated into legislation, Crystal's mother - my wife Patty Judson, keeps asking (insisting) that I add the idea of officers being required to take post-hire psychological evaluations at least at the time of their promotions. Others have suggested to me every two or three years regularly because of all the trauma and stress that law enforcement officers are continuously exposed to. (Also pre-hire psychological evaluations are not, but should be, required in every state.)

I INVITE AND IMPLORE the Washington delegation of Congresspersons and Senators TO TAKE THE LEAD in behalf of this federal effort that could have such a profound and direct effect on both agencies and people's lives across The United States.

Thank you for your time and your interest in this national health problem; One that costs millions if not billions every year in lost time from work, productivity, increased health care costs and most importantly, the quality of life of it's victims - if they survive at ALL. Let there be no mistake: domestic violence kills.

Respectfully,

Lane H. Judson Jr.

3 comments:

  1. Beautifully stated. Maybe you could offer some suggestions that might let us have some visibility into how grant money is being spent. I know that in my case, the supposed policy they had in place for domestic violence victims wasn't followed. I recently reported on a grant that the sheriff's office of my offender received a large sum of money- and Governor Jindal is the one who approved the grant money. I've seen no press releases on a local level explaining how that money is being used, or is planned to be used.

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  2. AnonymousJuly 11, 2009

    It's too bad that this had to happen to her. It almost happened to me by an auburn cop. He was suspended from the force and offered to take it as paid vacation!! he held his gun to my head when I was pregnant with our baby, he threatened murder-suicide, he stalked me and tried to kidnap our baby and he got away with all of this. He orderd me to have an abortion. My reponse was to get a life long domestic violence order against him which was granted. He is still allowed to carry a gun, a violation of the law if a person has a domestic violence order against them. He has been promoted when I was told he never would be after what he did to me, even after violating the domestic violence order numerous times. I have to carry my own protection as it is very clear he will always be a threat to me and our son. I know there will be a confrontation instigated by him one day. I wrote a book on the whole experience called the badge rapist.

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  3. Anonymous, what time frame are you talking about and what would you like to see happen with your book?
    Thanks.
    You can post here if you want your answer out loud or you can write me.

    ReplyDelete

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