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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

October 2020 | Volume 13 | Issue 10

This month’s edition of the Dispatch is dedicated to domestic violence interventions and contains information that will be helpful as departments seek to strengthen their capacity to serve victims.

Like many law enforcement professionals, during my career I have witnessed the impact of domestic violence on victims, responding officers, and my department’s workload. Recognizing these challenges, we established a Family Justice Center when I served as Chief of the Knoxville Police Department in Tennessee. This comprehensive support center remains operational and provides co-located services for victims and their children. In one consolidated location, domestic violence victims can access support resources offered by prosecutors, detectives, clergy, and social service professionals. It is both a one-stop safe haven for victims and an efficient means of coordinating domestic violence enforcement and assistance resources. I am pleased at the progress that my former department and our entire profession has made regarding domestic violence intervention.

This edition’s articles include Domestic Violence 101, which is essential reading for all officers who deal with domestic violence calls. It also highlights an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) domestic violence model policy to help departments establish priorities, guidelines, and procedures in response to domestic violence calls.

COVID-19 & Domestic Violence: Common Questions from the Field is an article contributed by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). It provides answers to common questions OVW has received from agencies throughout the country as domestic violence concerns have increased during the pandemic.

Preventing Officer-Involved Domestic Violence sheds light on an IACP model policy developed to help agencies navigate domestic violence committed against and by officers, a difficult issue to address. It covers supervisory responsibilities, peer responsibilities, and related issues.

Also featured is By the Field, for the Field: Domestic Violence Reduction and Prevention. This article highlights no-cost resources available through the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform and Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC). CRI-TAC can help equip front-line or specialty unit personnel with training and provide departments with support resources that ensure efficient and effective delivery of domestic violence reduction and prevention services.

Unfortunately, responding to domestic violence has been a long-term challenge for law enforcement. It leaves deeply scarred victims in its wake, is emotionally taxing for officers, presents unique officer safety concerns, and requires a significant amount of resources. I applaud those departments that are redoubling their efforts to address domestic violence. And, I encourage all agencies to review this edition closely and take advantage of the resources and information shared.

– Director Keith

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