Domestic Violence Task Force
On January 1, 1996 The Essex Police Department formed a domestic violence response unit. The Unit works to provide consistency, and completeness in the preparation of domestic violence cases for prosecution. In addition to helping the arresting Officer in preparing a domestic violence case, the Unit works with The Victim Support Project and The States Attorneys Office to ensure that victims of domestic violence receive all available assistance.
The Domestic Violence Response Unit (DVRU) operates through the Patrol Division. Officers volunteered for the Unit based on their interest in doing this type of investigative work. There is no additional pay or promotion involved. Members of the DVRU are given preference in selection for domestic violence training. The functions of the DVRU include:
- Follow up phone calls to victims.
- Follow up visits to victims.
- Assistance in case preparation including;
- Interviews with neighbors
- Interviews with children living in the home
- Follow up photographs of injuries or crime scenes
- Obtaining sworn statements from victims or witnesses
- Gathering information regarding past history of abuse
- Referral of the case to the Victim Support Project when not done by the initially responding Officer.
- Review of domestic cases to insure complete and consistent response.
- Assistance in obtaining Relief From Abuse Orders when necessary.
- Assistance with educational and awareness programs in the community.
- Providing training in domestic violence areas.
It is not the intention of the DVRU to replace the Patrol Officer who initially responds to incidents of domestic violence. It is our purpose to assist the Officer with follow up investigation. It can be extremely difficult to follow up on your own domestic violence case if you are working the midnight shift. Interviews usually get done during the daytime or early evening hours. Having several trained and motivated Officers on different shifts is helpful because if you are on days off or working a midnight shift a DVRU Officer will assist you.
Since January the DVRU has assisted on several investigations. I've had Officers help out with follow up on my cases and had good results. The DVRU has no budget. Officers volunteer for this and must continue with all their other responsibilities. The success of the DVRU is based on the motivation of the Officers involved.
Domestic violence cases can be interesting investigations and have the potential of saving lives which is why most of us got in the business in the first place. If your Department is interested in starting a Unit, or you have suggestions that could improve our response to domestic violence feel free to give me a call at 802-878-1331.