Monday, April 18, 2011
Excerpts from Judith Spitzer's "Police Drag Heels On Officers' Domestic Abuse" - Women's eNews
POLICE DRAG HEELS ON OFFICERS' DOMESTIC ABUSE
This article was contributed by Judith Spitzer who is an award-winning freelance writer living in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
...Dave Thomas, a retired Montgomery County Maryland police officer, now an instructor with Johns Hopkins University Public Safety Leadership Program, trains police departments to respond to officer-involved domestic violence. Thomas collaborated with the International Association of Police Chiefs, known as IAPC, that in 2003-04 produced a model policy for agencies to follow. "It's miniscule," said Thomas of the number of police agencies that have good, sound policy. "Maybe 3 to 6 percent (of police agencies) have a good policy. Leaders give a lot of lip service to it, saying they need to have it, but we just don't see it"... Thomas says agencies must also provide an avenue for family members to reach out to the department and they recommend that it be on a department's Web site. When reports do come in, he says, agencies must act fast so there's no lag time between the time of the report and when something is done...
...Roberta Valente, general counsel for the National Network for Ending Domestic Violence, based in Washington, D.C., says some departments are afraid that if they do adopt a policy it will expose them to liability if they don't abide by it...
...The reform came in 2003, after Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally wounded his wife, Crystal Judson, in a parking lot and then killed himself in front of the couple's two children. Lane Judson, Crystal Judson's father, was instrumental in bringing legal reform to the state. Today he travels around the country talking about officer-involved domestic violence... But policy alone is insufficient, says Debbie Brockman, a long-time victim advocate for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, based in Seattle. Successful prosecutions have turned out to be so rare that victims have become discouraged... Right after the Brame case, Brockman says, she saw numerous officer-involved domestic violence cases going through the system. But after the initial upturn she says she hasn't seen any new cases in a long time and today she gets few calls from survivors. "The only thing I can think is that it's gone back underground," Brockman said...
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety policy politics]