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  1. #1

    Default Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Sorry, but it's been "one of those days", and I need to rant...

    For everyone who is thinking of posting along the lines of "but I didn't want the cops to arrest"....

    Here's EXACTLY why they do:

    Just today in LA, 2 SWAT officers shot, 1 killed, responding to a DV call (the perp is dead too) where the bodies of 3 family members were found, and the wife/girlfriend (police aren't saying which yet) was able to escape

    And again today in Kentucky, a husband shot and stabed his wife at her job at a school, witnessed by many 11 year old students.

    Neither of these incidents was a "first time" for violent conflict. We don't have the whole story yet, but you can count on it.

    Last year, in Florida alone, just over 800 deaths thanks to domestic violence. The majority of them didn't think it would happen to them either. Some 80% of those who call 911 during a domestic don't want to press charges - thankfully, what they want doesn't matter and arrest is likely anyway. At least for THAT day, those officers won't be responding to a call to collect another body and have to notify another family. By the time it gets to court, some 90-95% want to drop charges. I even talked to a woman once (her perp broke both of her legs) who wanted him back because...are you ready for this....she didn't want to loose her new couch and she was sure he'd get it in the divorce. (Do they even HAVE couches in heaven?)

    Then, of course, there's the whole issue of the officers themselves. Other than traffic stops and traffic crashes, responding to a domestic violence call is the #3 cause of death for officers in the line of duty. Dispatchers are going to dispatch ANY call where there's even the SMELL of a domestic arguement as a priority call, and officers are going to respond accordingly.

    If you are in an abusive relationship, get help for yourself. Get help for your kids. You CAN'T get help for an abuser - either they want it and pursue it or they don't - YOU can't fix or change someone else, and a court-ordered program isn't going to work miracles, unless they WANT it (and if they wanted it, would a court have to ORDER them to go?)

    Work on your safety plan. Talk to your kids about it. Talk to anyone who is in a position to help keep you safe and watch your back.

    If you don't already have the number for your local crisis center in your cell phone, PUT IT IN. You can even give it a "fake" name. You should also have an entry on your cell phone called "I C E" - in case of emergency. If police need to contact your family or next of kin, that's one place they will look for contact information. Make sure your kid's cell phones have these entries too in case something happens to your kids and police need to contact you, or grandma, or whoever.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    2,031

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    This needs to be a sticky!!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Additional rant: I'm sitting here listening to another one on police radio - right here in the Orlando area. A guy has taken a women and her child hostage, SWAT is on the way. Here we go again folks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    6

    Unhappy Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Hi,
    While I do appreciate domestic violence advocacy groups and appreciate that the police in this day and age are more sensitive, educated, and trained than 10 years ago due to the efforts of the numerous advocacy groups like yours. In my case I am just really shocked because they missed the mark by so much.

    For my profession I have received training to look for signs of Domestic Violence and Chlid abuse and Elder abuse. So I do get it. I've had to make those hard decisions too. But when the case isn't quite clear as in many of the cases, we have specialists we can page to come talk to all parties involved before an accusation is made, as once its made its really a life altering event for all parties involved. I wish the police had something like that for when they are not sure before jumping to conclusions. Especially when the puported victim says nothing like that happened. There should be someone on call to come to the event to sort things out. Arresting someone is a huge deal let alone for DV, especially when they were so wrong. Erring on the side of caution for the "victim" should not mean automatic arrest for the other party. I know there are limited resources but before you potentially hurt someone's career and life how about getting a second opinion. Page a specialist to come to the scene. If you want to separate the parties involved then take one or both people in for further questioning to clear things up. Why the arrest which is permanently on one's record? I guess because its the easy way and because resources are limited?

    Its just that in my particular case (which I really sincerely appreciate your response to) was NOT DV in any way shape or form but rather a mental health break down on my part. The policemen jumped the gun without questioning me enough. I do wish I had a female officer to speak with as I think I would just have been more comfortable telling her about my health issues. They just totally missed the spot on this one and in fact what they did could have resulted in disaster as I was just so depressed and distraught and they took away the one person who could have calmed me. I arrest of my innocent hunny made me unconsolably distraught. As I said before he is the real victim in this situation. (I think the police should get further training in mental health issues.)

    Lastly, what really makes me upset is that they also fabricated things on the police report to justify their arrest which is unbelievable to me! (is there any way to correct this as a matter of record??) I remember on the night of the event, he was trying to paraphrase things to me as "a,b,c" and I said no I said "x,y,z". I even said is this being recorded on their walkie-talkie like equipment and he said no. On the record he wites "a,b,c" and then some. I completely distrust the police now. I really think that all police events should be recorded by video or voice for playback.

    I do appreciate the great work of groups like AARDVARC. And I understand your rant. I agree that there should be zero tolerance for DV (and child abuse and elder abusse) And while the consequences to being wrong on arresting for domestic violence over being wrong and not arresting, is worlds apart....I just wish there was something in between. There are consequences to an arrest record, even when no papered. Maybe not if you're Joe Schmoe who works in at McDonalds or the Gap (no offense intended for anyone working at the Gap or McDonald's, just an example) but to people who are in/want to go into high stakes jobs it is a big deal, especially when you are 100% innocent.

    Maybe this analogy can help you understand why I am so frustrated as I am in the medical field and not in the legal profession. What if a generalist physician saw something that looked like cancer and recommended biopsy to exclude cancer. Easy procedure, better to err on the side of caution, right. OK, turns out it wasn't cancer but in the process of the procedure the person had damage to nearby structures and now has a lifetime of morbidity (pain and suffering). You'd say "what's wrong with that? The doctor did nothing wrong, of course he should have biopsied if he suspected cancer! Its better to err to the side of caution when its something as potentially fatal like cancer", right? But what if the the generalist had shown the films to a consultant specialist prior to the biopsy and the specialist says. Its a no brainer (its obvious), I've seen thousands of cases of cancers and lesions like this and this lesion you are showing me is never cancer, no way no how. Shouldn't even be biopsied. As the patient how upset would you be that you now have a lifetime of morbidity due to a biopsy that you didn't even need? Did the doctor follow standard of care? Maybe for a generalist, but that's why there are specialists.

    Excuse my rant also. I am just really unhappy because of what happened to us. I guess life is not fair and just need to chalk it up to a police "misunderstanding". But just really wish that the police had a protocol for when things are not so black and white. If so, I could have gotten the help I needed that night and my hunny would not have been arrested.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Of course the politically incorrect answer, that "the advocacy world" can't really say out loud, is this: stop calling the police, even jokingly, unless you want to see the other half taken away in cuffs. It's not their choice. They are BOUND by law in most states.

    There ARE a very few number of jurisdictions where there ARE trained domestic violence advocates on call 24/7 who DO respond to the scene - (I've been one) BUT even so, that's not going to make any difference in officers being MANDATED to make an arrest. Sure, if tax payers wanted to pay to have licensed mental health specialists on call 24/7 we could have them too - but even that wouldn't change the arrest outcome once those 911 buttons on the phone are pushed. We can't even keep trauma centers with surgeons needed for emergency life saving operations open in this country - much less pay for advocates and counselors. It's simply a matter of money and priorities, and voters don't want to fund a surgeon to sow their heads back on after a car wreck, much less pay for advocates or counselors (in fact we've got one of our largest programs in Florida that is shutting it's doors on Feb 11 due to lack of funding).

    The only thing to be gained by having a whole hospital psychiatric mental health unit showing up at the scene is to possibly document the state of mind of either the perp or the victim at the time, and that will have ZERO impact on the arrest - it'll only come into play as part of the plea bargain process, or if the case does go to trial, can pay into the sentencing phase (ie a suspended sentence, or a conditional sentence where if counseling is received the charges will be dropped, etc.).

    The arrest policy itself resulted due to the deaths of many thousands of women in danger calling police, then refusing to press charges (no arrest), then ending up dead. Maybe, even probably, this wouldn't have been the situation in your case - during this incident, or any later incident. But if you decide to "bluff him" by calling 911, the outcome is pretty much set by the time you hear "911, do you need police, fire, or medical?" on the other end of the phone.

    There are also some who would classify his actions (taking and reading the diary and then keeping it from you when you are obviously intensely emotionally distrought about it) as emotionally, even though not physically, abusive. This isn't ALL on you for making the call. Some of the responsibility is on him for acting like an ass when you were in need of comfort, care, and a soft place to land (that's what I would expect from MY hunny) - and doing so to the degree that you felt the need to pick up that phone and call 911 (not a friend, family member, counselor, therapist, or other supporter).

    It's entirely possible that your case MIGHT end up with dropped charges in exchange for counseling. The prosecution should discuss this with you, and if they don't bring it up, you can try. Hopefully you will get yourself some help for your depression (I know it can be horribly debilitating, I suffered from it for years - the only thing that helped was forcing myself to go outside and get 10 minutes of sun and fresh air everyday), and he will get some help figuring out that his own actions were FAR from those of a loving, supportive partner. They might not have warranted the extreme action of arrest and all that goes with it, but any reasonable person, who got a 911 call, saw your bloodshot crying eyes, and heard about the roll around on the bed over the diary would come to the same conclusion and take the same action. You'll have your change to tell your side, he'll have his chance to tell his side, etc. But until human beings come up with time travel or crystal balls, all anyone can go by is what they see and hear in the context as they understand it at the time, and the overall context of this incident says "domestic violence", even if both of you know it wasn't. That's where his defense attorney will come in - to paint the WHOLE picture, and not just the picture that officers got.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    20,594

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    I have to agree with Aardvarc on the issue of law enforcement response. Politicians and law enforcement once took a drubbing (beginning almost 20 years ago) as a result of ongoing abuse ending in homicide. Even today, a failure to act on the part of law enforcement has resulted in a huge settlement in the only "duty to protect" suit to successfully be permitted to move forward in the nation's history (MACIAS v IHDE - July 2000 by the 9th Circuit). Given that settlement, the courts have only granted even greater incentive for law enforcement to act upon minimal probable cause to make an arrest (i.e. to err on the side of caution). And, since the probable cause necessary to make an arrest is less than that needed for a conviction, these arrests are almost always clearly lawful.

    If someone wishes to alter the laws and remove the liability to law enforcement for NOT taking affirmative action, or mandating that couples with tumultuous histories to split up, they are free to do so. Until then, don't expect law enforcement to cross its fingers and hope for the best ... our experience is that the situation almost ALWAYS escalates and rarely gets "better" without intervention.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    9

    Red face Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Do you think there is a law or a cop who can stop anybody from being killed? Why do peolpe stay in those type of situations (MONEY) in CA cost of living to high. The law doe's not proctect the victims in these cases by giving them assitance to have the abilty to move on. BUT IF THEY DID GIVE PEOPLE A FRESH START THOSE NUMBERS WOULD DROP BY 50%!

    Instead we put all of CA budget into protecting the perp sending him to free everything Food Medical care school place to live he love going back and forth. That's why we have the highest repeat offenders in the nation cause the taxpayers spend all of there dollars on so called punishment. It cost the state 31,000.00 per imate but we spend 7,000.00 dollars per student and are cutting that. As you can see these tough laws only benift the per not our victims. If they could recvice one year of the cost it take to lock up a perp for one year I bet those numbers would drop.

    It will never be punishment that will keep the victim away or safe it's MONEY.So they can afford to move on and get help and our state can use the money to do what really needs to be done. Teach our kids while they are in school about D.V. But I forgot CA forgets about what important our future the kids. There is cause to think if we could relase a convict one year early at 210% over crowding we would save more lives. As we see nothing will help the abuser why should we. Could somebody please tell me why the prsion sytem gets a increase in funding but the public get's nothing in return for that investment?

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Quote Quoting rawsb
    View Post
    Do you think there is a law or a cop who can stop anybody from being killed?
    Sure. In every circumstance? No. In many? Sure. There are usually events leading up to crimes of violence or passion, and these can often serve to intercede and prevent a death.

    Even if not, does that mean that no one should even try?

    Why do peolpe stay in those type of situations (MONEY) in CA cost of living to high.
    If only it were THAT simple.

    The law doe's not proctect the victims in these cases by giving them assitance to have the abilty to move on. BUT IF THEY DID GIVE PEOPLE A FRESH START THOSE NUMBERS WOULD DROP BY 50%!
    Most states have programs where victims of violent crimes (such as DV) CAN access funds to help them move. However, very often these victims hook up with men similar to their abuser ... it is a vicious cycle and victims should also seek counseling to learn how to avoid a repeat performance.

    That's why we have the highest repeat offenders in the nation cause the taxpayers spend all of there dollars on so called punishment.
    We have the highest recidivism rate in the nation? I haven't heard that. Do you have a source?

    It cost the state 31,000.00 per imate but we spend 7,000.00 dollars per student and are cutting that.
    It's not about the money, it is about how effective that spending is. Many states spend LESS per student and produce a more effective product. Many private schools spend 1/3 of that per student and do a MUCH better job. So, it's not the money.

    As you can see these tough laws only benift the per not our victims.
    Yeah, I guess the criminal record, 10 year firearms ban, stigma, fines, counseling, jail and/or prison, etc. are a piece of cake.

    The sad part is that most DV cases are not prosecuted or plead to counseling due to the victim's failure to cooperate or actually risking jail themselves by recanting their statement(s).

    If they could recvice one year of the cost it take to lock up a perp for one year I bet those numbers would drop.
    Okaaay ... I bet it wouldn't. I am also not all for rewarding people who claim DV by writing them a check. How many phony reports do you think THAT would encourage?

    Teach our kids while they are in school about D.V.
    Many schools do that.

    Could somebody please tell me why the prsion sytem gets a increase in funding but the public get's nothing in return for that investment?
    The public gets to avoid being victimized while the criminals are in custody, that's the benefit they get. And prisons get more money because we have a lot of lawbreakers in this state. And, as an FYI, you have to do a very, very bad thing to get to prison in the first place, or have to have a number of prior convictions (mostly felonies) before prison is even realistically on the table.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Just to add to what Carl said:

    DV isn't about money. It might feel that way to a lot of victims, or seem that way on the surface. But at its root, DV is about CONTROL. WHY don't victims often have the financial resources they need to leave? Because abusers WANT it that way and they take steps over time to restrict victims from working (so they don't have money of their own), or if they allow them to work they don't give them access to bank accounts (same result), they destroy their access to family and friends (who could potentially help financially or otherwise) by bringing drama after drama or by moving them away physically (another state, etc.). On top of this, many (but certainly not all) victims get into relationships with abusers early, start having babies (another way to "force" female victims into staying home), and before you know it they have a couple of kids, no work history, no credit in their own name, no family or friends around to help, and on and on and on. Destruction of support systems is one MAJOR goal of abuse. Again, the function of abuse is control - often accomplished by perps by manipulating many facets of everyday life so that victims are dependent on the abuser.

    BUT the law can only step in on those specific issues where a law has been broken. The police can arrest when an abuser lashes out and physically commits a battery - but they can't make an abuser get along with your parents, talk nicely, stop drinking, put your name on a checking account, or any of the other million little things that abuse victims can later identify as abusive. On the other hand, when a law IS broken, police will act. They aren't there to play marriage counselor (unlike the "old days"), they're not going to tell the abuser to play nice, or take a walk and cool off - they are going to ENFORCE the law.

    Those of us who work in this field see this dynamic over and over and over. But just handing victims a check isn't going to solve the problems - it takes a bigger picture. Sure a check might get you out today - but getting gone and STAYING gone are not the same thing. Research shows that the average victim leaves 6 times before making a final break with an abuser (and if you have kids with an abuser, there's no such thing as gone forever in most cases - dad is still going to be supported in most courts in having ongoing and regular access to his kids unless there has been some DOCUMENTED violence directed at the children). And that's even WITH resources and services like crime victim compensation, housing assistance, job training, waived deposits for utilities and leases, and other services available. Even if you can "get gone", unless and until you can establish credit (which takes time), get enough education or training to land a job where you can support yourself AND your kids (remember that dad might not pay court ordered child support, either in an attempt to pressure you or because they are in jail or prison), can re-establish links and relationships with family and friends (or make some new ones) - victims remain in the same situation, and all of those unresolved factors keep them out there on the relationship market as "easy prey" for the NEXT abuser to come along and start the cycle all over again.

    As for schools, yes, some do teach about DV - but kids learn what they live every day. PARENTS need to be the ones teaching their kids about healthy dynamics in relationships, and mirroring that behavior as well. What your kids see and hear every day is what they'll take into adulthood and into their own relationships - no matter WHAT they wrote in their DV essay for health class.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why Police Act On Domestic Violence

    Quote Quoting dcgal
    View Post
    Hi,
    While I do appreciate domestic violence advocacy groups and appreciate that the police in this day and age are more sensitive, educated, and trained than 10 years ago due to the efforts of the numerous advocacy groups like yours. In my case I am just really shocked because they missed the mark by so much.

    For my profession I have received training to look for signs of Domestic Violence and Chlid abuse and Elder abuse. So I do get it. I've had to make those hard decisions too. But when the case isn't quite clear as in many of the cases, we have specialists we can page to come talk to all parties involved before an accusation is made, as once its made its really a life altering event for all parties involved. I wish the police had something like that for when they are not sure before jumping to conclusions. Especially when the puported victim says nothing like that happened. There should be someone on call to come to the event to sort things out. Arresting someone is a huge deal let alone for DV, especially when they were so wrong. Erring on the side of caution for the "victim" should not mean automatic arrest for the other party. I know there are limited resources but before you potentially hurt someone's career and life how about getting a second opinion. Page a specialist to come to the scene. If you want to separate the parties involved then take one or both people in for further questioning to clear things up. Why the arrest which is permanently on one's record? I guess because its the easy way and because resources are limited?

    Its just that in my particular case (which I really sincerely appreciate your response to) was NOT DV in any way shape or form but rather a mental health break down on my part. The policemen jumped the gun without questioning me enough. I do wish I had a female officer to speak with as I think I would just have been more comfortable telling her about my health issues. They just totally missed the spot on this one and in fact what they did could have resulted in disaster as I was just so depressed and distraught and they took away the one person who could have calmed me. I arrest of my innocent hunny made me unconsolably distraught. As I said before he is the real victim in this situation. (I think the police should get further training in mental health issues.)

    Lastly, what really makes me upset is that they also fabricated things on the police report to justify their arrest which is unbelievable to me! (is there any way to correct this as a matter of record??) I remember on the night of the event, he was trying to paraphrase things to me as "a,b,c" and I said no I said "x,y,z". I even said is this being recorded on their walkie-talkie like equipment and he said no. On the record he wites "a,b,c" and then some. I completely distrust the police now. I really think that all police events should be recorded by video or voice for playback.

    I do appreciate the great work of groups like AARDVARC. And I understand your rant. I agree that there should be zero tolerance for DV (and child abuse and elder abusse) And while the consequences to being wrong on arresting for domestic violence over being wrong and not arresting, is worlds apart....I just wish there was something in between. There are consequences to an arrest record, even when no papered. Maybe not if you're Joe Schmoe who works in at McDonalds or the Gap (no offense intended for anyone working at the Gap or McDonald's, just an example) but to people who are in/want to go into high stakes jobs it is a big deal, especially when you are 100% innocent.

    Maybe this analogy can help you understand why I am so frustrated as I am in the medical field and not in the legal profession. What if a generalist physician saw something that looked like cancer and recommended biopsy to exclude cancer. Easy procedure, better to err on the side of caution, right. OK, turns out it wasn't cancer but in the process of the procedure the person had damage to nearby structures and now has a lifetime of morbidity (pain and suffering). You'd say "what's wrong with that? The doctor did nothing wrong, of course he should have biopsied if he suspected cancer! Its better to err to the side of caution when its something as potentially fatal like cancer", right? But what if the the generalist had shown the films to a consultant specialist prior to the biopsy and the specialist says. Its a no brainer (its obvious), I've seen thousands of cases of cancers and lesions like this and this lesion you are showing me is never cancer, no way no how. Shouldn't even be biopsied. As the patient how upset would you be that you now have a lifetime of morbidity due to a biopsy that you didn't even need? Did the doctor follow standard of care? Maybe for a generalist, but that's why there are specialists.

    Excuse my rant also. I am just really unhappy because of what happened to us. I guess life is not fair and just need to chalk it up to a police "misunderstanding". But just really wish that the police had a protocol for when things are not so black and white. If so, I could have gotten the help I needed that night and my hunny would not have been arrested.
    you are so very right and i understand what u went through. in my case, i have tried to talk to anyone and everyone i can to help my husband. no one will listen! i am also scared the police will fabricate something on the report to justify his arrest. it really wasn't that bad! anger and tempers on both sides can put anyone in a 'fight or flight' response.

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