Monday, April 11, 2011
[MN] Progressive Policing: 3 departments drafted polices & trainings to handle officer-involved domestic violence
...The Crystal Judson name in McFarland’s title has to do with a tragedy that has been an impetus to formulate officer-involved domestic violence policies within law enforcement agencies across the United States... ...Department members will be trained to be on the alert for fellow officers having domestic issues so that appropriate help or intervention can be given. Also, whenever there is a domestic assault call in which an involved individual is a law enforcement officer, then a supervisor in the police department must also respond to the call, Payne said, to supervise how the primary or nonsupervisory officer handles the situation...
[police officer involved domestic violence professional professionalism oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety minnesota state politics]
POLICE ESTABLISHES DOMESTIC ABUSE POLICY
The Princeton Union-Eagle
By Joel Stottrup
April 7, 2011
Fact: Police officers are human and not immune to committing domestic abuse, even fatal, nor are they immune to being victims of same.
Fact: Law enforcement officers have been found to have committed domestic assault crimes in various degrees in the state, country and beyond.
Fact: The Princeton Police Department is one of three police departments in Mille Lacs County who have recently finalized drafting for their departments the new Domestic Violence and Stalking and Sexual Assault Policy. Actually, all the law enforcement agencies, as well as the Mille Lacs County attorney’s office and the Pearl Crisis Center in Mille Lacs have been drafting the same policy for their departments, according to Krista McFarland. She is the Crystal Judson Advocacy Coordinator at Pearl Crisis Center.
The Crystal Judson name in McFarland’s title has to do with a tragedy that has been an impetus to formulate officer-involved domestic violence policies within law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The tragedy that led to action
It was on April 26, 2003, when Crystal Judson, in her mid-30s, was fatally shot by the husband she was divorcing – David Brame, the police chief of Tacoma, Wash. David and Crystal were in a shopping center parking lot when David shot Crystal and then shot himself as their two young children were running up to them. David died that day but Crystal lived until the following May 3 when doctors disconnected her from life-support machines since she did not have brain activity nor chance for survival.
But before she died, her father, Lane Judson, vowed to Crystal that he would do all that he could to prevent others from being victims of violence committed by an officer of the law.
McFarland, with Pearl Crisis Center, has been working since 2009 with the Princeton, Milaca and Mille Lacs Tribal Police Departments that have just finished their policy writing, and with the other agencies.
Princeton Police Chief Brian Payne said last week, that his department is targeting August to get it implemented in his department.
McFarland said last week that the Princeton, Milaca and Tribal Police Departments have received the training for it.
“Throughout this process,” McFarland said, “we have not only addressed this issue specifically, but also improved services to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.”
Payne noted that all officers in his department will sign off that they have read and understood the new policy and that any new member of the department will have to do the same.
Extension of policies
Payne noted that the state has already mandated that law enforcement officers become trained in handling domestic assault. What this policy does is deal with any potential domestic assault among law enforcement officers, Payne explained.
Actually, the laws on responding to domestic assault calls was stiffened some time ago by the state, Payne said. He explained that the old law stated that an officer could arrest someone who has shown probable cause to have committed a domestic assault crime. The current law states that officers must make the arrest.
As far as the new policy goes for the three mentioned police departments, it will do several things, Payne said.
One, is that the department members will be trained to be on the alert for fellow officers having domestic issues so that appropriate help or intervention can be given.
Also, whenever there is a domestic assault call in which an involved individual is a law enforcement officer, then a supervisor in the police department must also respond to the call, Payne said, to supervise how the primary or nonsupervisory officer handles the situation.
“It’s to make sure all the bases are covered and there is no preferential treatment,” Payne said. “I would like to think that wouldn’t happen…without a representative of the department there.”
Another part of the policy, Payne explained, is if there is a resident in Princeton who works in law enforcement outside of Princeton and has committed a domestic assault in the locality, then Payne’s department will notify the employer of the alleged assault suspect about the situation.
But what happens if it is a police chief who is alleged to have committed a domestic assault? In that case, Payne said, a senior investigator or sergeant is called in to respond.
Payne said he doesn’t see domestic violence among law enforcement in Minnesota being any larger proportionally than in other professions.
Payne also said he hasn’t seen any preferential treatment for officers in the 23 years he has worked within law enforcement in Howard Lake, Wright County, Zimmerman and Princeton.
“The reason why I like this policy,” Payne said, “is it makes it much easier for senior officers and young officers to make an arrest of a supervisor when there is a policy backing the decision.”
Payne also addressed the potential situation of there being a need for a senior officer beyond the chief to respond to a domestic call. In that case, he said, another agency can handle it. And that is also true if an officer doesn’t feel comfortable handling the call, Payne said.
One way the head of a department can help if it appears one of their officers is having relationship difficulties at home, Payne continued, is they can change the shifts to reduce stress for that officer.
One more way this policy is beneficial, Payne said, would be in a hypothetical situation of a report made of him assaulting his wife, but the evidence shows the allegation to be unfounded. Then if stories go around that the allegations were true, the new policy, with its safeguards would counteract the false rumors, Payne said.
“This policy,” Payne said, “makes us accountable to make sure we do everything correctly. It’s a very professional department that polices their own as they police the ones they are sworn to protect.”
McFarland, at Pearl, said the new policy can help in situations where the person wanting to report a domestic abuse has a spouse or partner who is in law enforcement. Without such a policy they would be hesitant to call the department the alleged abuser belongs to, McFarland said.
What adds to the tragedy of the fatal assault of Crystal Judson, McFarland said, is that Crystal had been making reports about the abuse she was receiving some time before the date of her fatal wounding. Just the day before the shooting, McFarland added, the city of Tacoma, Wash., had declared that it was not going to investigate her case reasoning that this was a “personal matter.”
McFarland pointed out that Crystal’s husband carried out the murder-suicide with his law enforcement-issued handgun.