POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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38 POLICE OCTOBER 2018 R esponding to a domestic disturbance is one of the most common and most dangerous calls that you will be dis- patched to. Anecdotally, you know that. But let's put the danger in perspective with data. Last year more officers were fatally shot responding to domestic vio- lence incidents than any other type of incident, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. From 1988 to 2016, 136 officers were killed responding to domestic disturbances such as family arguments, FBI data from Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEO- KA) shows. According to the Department of Justice, about one in five murder victims are killed by an intimate partner, while FBI Uniform Crime Reports show that almost one-third of wom- en murdered are murdered by an intimate partner. A domestic disturbance call can involve anything from a verbal dispute to a homicide. Maintaining officer safety is of the utmost importance. Since this is such a common call, officers may, at times, let their guard down. So we all need reminders of the danger of domestic disputes and ensure of- ficers are taking all precautions. UPON DISPATCH During dispatch to a domestic disturbance, you need to ask the dispatcher for more details such as information about prior contacts with the caller, offender, and/or residence. Try to determine whether the offender is still at the residence. If the offender has left the residence, try to obtain a descrip- tion of the offender and the direction of his or her travel. e dispatcher should have asked about weapons in the residence and passed this information on to you. However, if he or she didn't tell you about weapons, then you need to ask for that information. e dispatcher should also be able to tell you if it sounded, when speaking with the caller, like a struggle was in progress as well as whether there are any outstanding warrants or orders of protection. Today's 911 call center personnel are well trained; how- ever, there may be instances when the officer must request certain information from the dispatcher. Other officers with knowledge about previous contact may relay information to the officers or officer en route. Having as much knowledge as possible, while en route, is extremely important for your safety. ARRIVING AT SCENE Although it is not always possible, two officers should re- spond to all domestics. ree officers would be even better. Having three officers on the scene helps you maintain the principle of mass, the concept that there should be two of- Two officers should respond to all domestics if possible. Three officers would be even better. RESPONDING TO DOMESTIC DISTURBANCES Get as much information as you can before you arrive; approach the residence carefully; and know what to do once you go inside. The Winning Edge MICHAEL SCHLOSSER PHOTOS: MICHAEL SCHLOSSER

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