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Edward D. Reuss
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Police officers often times feel it is our job is to show up, circle the wagons, move from crisis to crisis as safely as possible, and then go home. Too often officers feel that they are arresting the same criminals over and over again, filing far too many reports, and making very little real change concerning sanctions and/or programs for abusers and proper intervention for the victims of domestic violence. In fact many studies, including The Criminalization of Domestic Violence: Promises and Limits by Jeffrey Fagan, Evaluation of Family Violence Training Programs for the National Institute of Justice, by Lisa Newmark, Adele Harrell, and William P. Adams and The Need for a New Learning Culture in Law Enforcement by Stephen M. Ramirez, agree. The problem is most clearly stated by Jeffrey Fagan. "Although arrest may have independent effects in reducing the risks of further violence, sanctions ultimately result from the actions of prosecutorial and judicial actors who met out criminal penalties."

The roles other agencies play in the system, after the arrest process, are vital to demonstrate to the officers the importance of their investigative or arrest reports. It is a fact that the role of the police officer, is often the most important of all agencies. Without a proper investigative report and gathering of evidence and then a warrant, or the arrest process there is no documentation that a crime ever occurred. Job satisfaction after the officer's hard work is something that is too often lacking. The full sense of accomplishment for the officers most often lies in the hands of others in the system. The need for job satisfactions is no different than many other jobs and to improve the quality of performance the officers should be provided with the positive consequences of their work. Are there proper sanctions for the abusers and/or programs/services for the victim following the officer's intervention? The documentation of prosecution, sanctions, program placement, and the decrease of recidivism rate can play a major role in demonstrating to the officers and their supervisors the importance of their role (Fagan, 1995).

I have been working with the Brockton Massachusetts police department for the last few years attempting to put in place a police department based domestic violence training program. The basic concept of the program is to identify, measure, and document each agencies positive contribution concerning criminal justice domestic violence intervention. It is intended to provide officers and their supervisors with some sense of accomplishment for the work they do. As stated, police officers are little different from most people who need some sense of accomplishment for job performance. The difference is, as most police officers know, that there is generally very little positive feedback from others in and outside the criminal justice system. If there is a problem, more often than not, the finger of blame is pointed you know where.

The Brockton department hopes to have in place, over the next year or so, a simple computer enhanced program that will measure what happens after the arrest of the domestic violence abuser by the police. We intend to document what assistance the victims and their children have received from the police officer and other agencies in the system. The purpose of this follow-up and feedback from others in the criminal justice system, after the report/arrest process by the police, is to ensure everyone is getting information that is important to the individual role. Although domestic violence training for police officers has dramatically increased over the last few years there have been few programs that properly link the arrest, prosecution, trial outcome, and sanction/programs results. Most contemporary domestic violence training only provides new information to the officers and renders little to no results. Most of these contemporary training processes do not document the outcome of the training. How do those who provide this type of training know what the officers will do with their new training and what are the results of the police training on others in the system? Once we get the bugs out of this program/intervention process we hope to make it available for replication by other departments on the Brockton Police Department Website.

Richard L. Davis, the author of "Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies", Praeger Publishers, Westport CT (1998), retired after 21 years of service with the Brockton, Massachusetts Police Department, he is a Domestic Violence Intervention and Programs consultant. rldavis@post.harvard.edu

Copyright © 2001 Richard L. Davis



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