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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

[MN] Mille Lacs County leads the way for Minnesota to address officer-involved domestic violence

 ...Lane Judson said, “We need to come together and listen to the voices of those who died from domestic violence”...

...This training is the first step in getting law enforcement agencies throughout the state to develop policies specifically for officer-involved domestic violence. There’s liability if there’s no policy in place... The hope is to have a trained advocate in every county that can be called on because the dynamics in officer-involved violence is so different...

Judy Pearson, Pearl Crisis Center Executive Director:
...“Lane being here brought that presence of what it’s like for a family to lose their child... He brought it to life. You couldn’t deny it”...


ADDRESSING OFFICER-INVOLVED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Peace officers are meant to keep the peace. Not abuse and kill their loved ones.
Mille Lacs County Times
May 26, 2010

Lane Judson whispered to his dying daughter that he’d do whatever he could to make sure another woman wasn’t killed like she was.

Lane’s daughter Crystal was shot by her husband in a parking lot in 2003. He then shot himself. Their two children ran to the car to see their father and their mother dying.

Crystal’s husband was David Brame - Tacoma, Washington’s Chief of Police.

Lane was one of two speakers at recent training seminars hosted by Pearl Crisis Center for law enforcement, legal services, advocates and probation officers from around the state.

Author and advocate Diane Wetendorf was the other speaker.

The focus of the training was handling domestic violence by peace officers.

The training was supported via a grant through the Violence Against Women Act, in which Lane Judson worked to get government change.

Emergency responders encounter domestic violence on a daily basis. But when the offender is one of their own, it makes it more complex.

Who does the wife of an abusive spouse (who happens to be in law enforcement) turn to when she can’t turn to the law?

Crystal had filed an Order for Protection (OFP) against her estranged husband. The day before she was killed, city officials publicly announced that Crystal’s claims of abuse and threats would not be investigated because it was a “private matter.”

“It takes tremendous courage for a victim of domestic violence to leave their abuser,” Lane noted.

One bad cop can damage an entire department of officers who put their lives on the line each day trying to keep the peace.

“All of you do outstanding jobs and they need your help,” Lane told officers present. “Thank you for what you do.

“Our job as men in the community is to hold accountable men who are abusers. We need to make sure we do not condone the behavior.”

Lane spoke of the difficulty in an officer-involved domestic violence case. Often their own internal affairs department investigates, he said. Or the officer resigns before an investigation is complete and the officer goes to another police department.

“And the abuse continues,” Lane, who was a reserve officer for five years, said.

Crystal’s story

Crystal’s story appeared on 48 Hours Mystery with Leslie Stahl just three weeks after the murder/suicide.

When Crystal confessed to a neighbor that she had gotten a restraining order against her husband because he pushed her into a closet and put a gun to her head, telling her she wouldn’t get out of the marriage alive, he was stunned. How do you call the police on the police chief?

Brame choked Crystal, punched her, threatened her and kept such close tabs on her that he’d watch her using the bathroom.

An online journalist broke the story that Crystal had filed an OFP. That’s when the city manager publicly announced he was standing behind Brame - his friend and chief of police.

That April day, Crystal was on the phone with her mother while driving in her car. She told her mother she thought she saw Brame and said, “I gotta’ go, I gotta’ go.”

The estranged couple ended up in the parking lot at the same time.

Brame told the kids to wait in the car and that he had to talk to their mother.

Witnesses heard them arguing and heard Crystal say, “Oh no, don’t. Don’t.”

He pulled her head down and shot her point blank. Then shot himself.

A woman from a nearby video store saw the children run to the car, grabbed them and brought them inside her store to the sounds of “daddy shot mommy.”

Crystal’s brother-in-law said, “People knew deep dark secrets and did nothing about it.”

In 1988 a woman reported being raped by Brame. He took two psychological exams that stated he should not become a police officer. Yet, he not only became one, he was promoted to chief of police of a large metropolitan city.

Two months after the shooting, the city manager was fired. He had known about the rape allegation, but Brame had known about a fraud case the city manager was involved in.

The murder/suicide case was investigated for three years.

“It happens in our own backyards,” Lane said.


Learning, developing policy

Ninety-four people attended Lane’s seminar, another 79 attended Wetendorf’s. They were held at Northern Lights Banquet Center on May 6, May 12 and May 13.

Pearson said the seminars gave officers an outlet to talk about it.

“Lane being here brought that presence of what it’s like for a family to lose their child,” Judy Pearson, Pearl Crisis Center Executive Director, said. “He brought it to life. You couldn’t deny it.”

Krista McFarland of Pearl said evaluations completed by attendees showed the training gave an increased knowledge of officer-involved domestic violence.

“They were very engaged,” McFarland added.

This training is the first step in getting law enforcement agencies throughout the state to develop policies specifically for officer-involved domestic violence.

There’s liability if there’s no policy in place.

Pearl is bringing in the Red Wing Police Chief to help with policies. Agencies in Mille Lacs County are expected to have their policies in place by August.

McFarland and Milaca Police Officer Jackie Minks will conduct training on those policies.

The hope is to have a trained advocate in every county that can be called on because the dynamics in officer-involved violence is so different.

Alex Graves, Homeland Security Sr. Program Specialist, told Pearl staff he’s never seen so many police chiefs in one training. All of the police chiefs in Mille Lacs County attended the training.

Graves told of a former law enforcement officer he worked with and the signs they all missed. The officer shot and killed his wife in 2002.

And when Lane returned to Washington, he learned of another officer who just killed his mother-in-law, his father-in-law and then himself, in front of his children.

“You can see red flags when you look back,” Pearson said. “People wear masks and it’s really hard to stop it.”

Lane said, “We need to come together and listen to the voices of those who died from domestic violence.” 

http://millelacscountytimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3338&Itemid=33

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2 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 26, 2010

    They didn't say much about Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  2. New:

    [MN] Three County police departments adopt officer-involved domestic violence policy
    http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/2011/03/mn-three-county-police-departments.html

    ReplyDelete

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