Monday, August 6, 2012

Article: Domestic Violence Calls Get Special Protocol

Greensboro, NC -- Monday's deadly domestic violence shooting in Dobson ended with a Dobson man dead and one of the responding officers shot twice.

Officer Brian Thomas is expected to be okay. His partner helped drag him away from the Dobson home where the pair were called to find a husband and wife fighting. The man inside shot Officer Thomas through the front door.

READ: Police Officer Shot, Recovering In Hospital

Domestic Violence calls are not like other calls, there is a different protocol. Captain Tim Ellenberger from the High Point Department joined us at 5pm to tell us why.

Ellenberger says, "The nature of the call, the unpredictability, the intense emotions, and you often don't know what you're in for. Many times it's a 3rd party that calls, so as a police officer you have no idea what is going on and what types of weapons/situation you are dealing with."

Most departments have a standard that domestic violence calls are a 2-person response, but that's not the only difference put into place.

Ellenberger adds that officers are taught about the unpredictability and the fact that even though people are fighting against each other, they often turn on the officer.

Domestic Violence calls happen in every city, every town. High Point is trying a new program to cut down on the number of domestic violence calls made.

"We have a systematic process to identify offenders (a face to face notice and some follow-up). We track those arrested and aggressively prosecute those that reoffend. We've also come up with a profile of behaviors that indicate escalation: threats, stalking behavior.

Ellenberger adds, the officers recognize that Domestic Violence is an ongoing problem for all cities and towns. From a police perspective, it's often the highest number of calls and requires at least two officers for each call. With that said, we've come up with a comprehensive plan to address the problem. In the past, all focus has been on the victims of these crimes and providing services for these victims. Now we're putting focus on the offenders too and holding them accountable for their actions. So far, we believe it's working. We've notified over 350 offenders and only 11 have reoffended after the notice. We can't focus on ALL the offenders, but we can surely focus on 11.

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