In May 2011, I took over as the Blue Springs Police Domestic Violence Detective. Since given this great opportunity I’ve dedicated my efforts to do anything in my power to end the cycle of domestic violence in Blue Springs.
My passion to help survivors of domestic violence didn’t start when I took over as the Blue Springs Police Domestic Violence Detective, but my position helped me realize the power that I had to save lives through my investigations and interactions with survivors. I found that my past experience as a patrol officer—being involved in a shooting while responding to a domestic assault—and my quest for justice was very similar to the survivors of domestic violence with whom I work. That connection, even though different, allowed me to see through the eyes of a survivor seeking justice.
I’ve used my training and past experiences to help develop goals to end the cycle of domestic violence. I’ve realized that I first must provide social awareness of the prevalence and seriousness of domestic violence. I understand the importance of educating patrol officers on the best practices for handling domestic disputes and ensuring that survivors are given information on the resources available to assist them. Once assigned a new case, I know I must contact survivors as soon as possible after the initial report is taken and share my understanding and concern for the traumatic situation that they have been involved in. I then must gather the evidence and explain the legal process.
I’ve quickly found that there are many barriers to reaching my goal of ending the cycle of domestic violence. First, how do we reach those victims that don’t call for assistance? How do we prosecute a case when the victim refuses to assist in prosecution? How do I ensure that officers are gathering all the evidence needed to build an investigation? How do we better track subjects placed on probation?
We haven't ended the cycle of domestic violence yet but, with the assistance of our court advocate from Hope House and the patrol officers on the road, we are identifying those at greatest risk of violence and abusers prone to commit those acts of violence. Through ongoing training we have improved how officers handle and report those domestic disputes. Patrol officers are linking survivors of intimate partner domestic assaults to Hope House advocates through the Lethality Assessment Program. Patrol officers are making arrests of the primary physical aggressor if probable cause exists even if the survivor is not willing to sign a complaint at the time. The municipal court is holding five separate domestic violence dockets per month to ensure that victims get justice as soon as possible. The Blue Springs Police Dispatch supervisor has begun entering the information of subjects placed on municipal probation into the Regional Justice Information Service computer system.
With the continued support from the Blue Springs Police Department and our partners at Hope House, survivors of domestic violence are getting the support they need and tools to escape their dangerous situations. Together we are ending the cycle of domestic violence.