Develop Contacts With Local Law Enforcement Personnel
Before 1980 law enforcement agencies provided little or no service to the victims of domestic violence because such intervention was not considered appropriate. Today nearly every police department has a policy, procedures, and resources dedicated to addressing domestic violence.
- They have incorporated into police academy curricula training on relationships and the conditions that result in violence.
- They have incorporated into general in-service training exercises recognition of the causes of violence, conflict resolution technique training, domestic violence scenarios, and police response guidelines.
- They have provided and improved officer training in violence and conflict resolution techniques.
- They have trained chiefs and officers to handle liaison with employers.
Law enforcement agencies also devote resources to workplace violence -- prevention and intervention. Meeting with local law enforcement to discuss procedures for routine security and emergency situations can improve response to all kinds of violence in the workplace. (Source TCFV)
You will become familiar with the officers/deputies who may be called upon to assist you in an emergency. You can learn in a calm, controlled environment, what the law enforcement response might be in the event your business had a situation occur. During an emergency there is not often time to explain what steps are being taken and why. Knowing the procedure before hand can aid in alleviating your questions and concerns in advance. It can also help you to be better prepared and of greater assistance during an actual incident.
Law enforcement personnel can provide you with information about service providers who can assist a domestic violence victim. Such assistance may interrupt or diffuse a domestic violence situation and prevent related incidents in the workplace. Law enforcement can also tell you if there are limited or no services available. You could become a catalyst and champion the cause for enhancing or establishing services for victims.
Law enforcement agencies can help in the planning of security measures:
- Identify types of situations they can address and when and how they should be notified of an incident.
- Indicate whether their officers have arrest authority.
- Identify their jurisdictional restrictions and alternative law enforcement agencies that may be able to provide assistance.
- Identify threat assessment professionals who can assist you in your efforts to protect threatened employees.
- Advice on what evidence is necessary and how it can be collected or recorded, so that law enforcement can assess the information and decide what action to take, if appropriate.
- Explain anti-stalking laws applicable in the employer’s jurisdiction and how and when to obtain protective orders.
- Arrange for supervisor/employee briefings or trainings on specific workplace violence issues such as:
- Personal safety and security measures.
- Types of incidents to report to law enforcement/security.
- Types of measures law enforcement/security may take to protect employees during a violent incident, e.g., explanations of what it means to “secure the area,” “secure the perimeter,” and “preserve evidence."
- Suggestions on how to react to an armed attacker.
- Suspicious packages.
- Bomb threats.
- Hostage situations.
- Telephone harassment and threats.
Contacting your local law enforcement agency is only a telephone call away. Check the white pages of the telephone book for the specialized units and numbers. Look for “Community Relations,” “Crime Prevention,” or a similar title. If you are unable to locate what you are looking for call the general information number. If you are told there is no such program to help you or otherwise do not feel you have received an appropriate response then call the office of the chief or sheriff directly.
If your local law enforcement agency is unwilling or unable to provide assistance, broaden the scope of your efforts. If you have contacted the local police department with no results, contact the sheriff’s office. If the sheriff’s office is unable or unwilling to assist, contact the district attorney’s office.
The responsibilities of law enforcement in domestic violence situations are dictated by Colorado state law and the policies of each law enforcement agency.
The first duty of law enforcement in any situation is to provide/render aid in the event an individual is injured or otherwise in need of medical attention.
Colorado state law is very specific about the responsibilities and duties of a variety of professionals, including peace officers, pertaining to investigations and incidents of domestic violence.
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6-803.5 requires: (3)(a) “Whenever a restraining order is issued, the protected person shall be provided with a copy of such order. A peace officer shall use every reasonable means to enforce a restraining order.” (3)(b) “A peace officer shall arrest, or, if an arrest would be impractical under the circumstances, seek a warrant for the arrest of a restrained person when the peace officer has information amounting to probable cause that (I) The restrained person has violated or attempted to violate any provision of a restraining order; and (II) The restrained person has been properly served with a copy of the restraining order or the restrained person has received actual notice of the existence and substance of such order…”
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6-803.5 (6)(a) further states: “A peace officer is authorized to use every reasonable means to protect the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s children to prevent further violence. Such peace officer may transport, or obtain transportation for, the alleged victim to shelter.” Shelter is defined as “…a battered women’s shelter, a friend’s or family member’s home, or such other safe haven as may be designated by the protected person and which is within a reasonable distance from the location at which the peace officer found the victim.”
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6-803.6 directs: (1) “When a peace officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that a crime or offense involving domestic violence…has been committed, the officer shall, without undue delay, arrest the person suspected of its commission…” (2) “…and charge the person with the appropriate crime or offense…The arrested person shall be removed from the scene of the arrest and shall be taken to the peace officer’s station for booking, whereupon the arrested person may be held or released in accordance with the adopted bonding schedules for the jurisdiction in which the arrest is made.”
Essentially, involving investigations of domestic violence, a peace officer must:
- render/provide medical aid
- conduct an investigation
- physically arrest and remove the suspect from the scene
- transport the victim and children, if applicable, to shelter
- investigate and arrest violators of restraining orders, or, if an arrest is not applicable at the time, to obtain an arrest warrant for the violator
Other ways to be proactive in dealing with domestic violence:
Consider possible legal liabilities.
Make Materials and Resources Accessible and Available.
Develop contacts with local domestic violence service providers.
Develop contacts with local law enforcement personnel.
Make referrals to community resources.
Develop policies and procedures.
Understand protective orders.