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Friday, August 15, 2003

Tacoma looking around the country for examples - KOMOTV News

...Tacoma is looking around the country for examples of successful domestic violence prevention programs within police departments... But the [Clark County] sheriff admits you may not always be able to prevent domestic violence within his ranks. Partly, because some alleged victims fear their spouse will lose his or her job...

Domestic Violence Among Police
KOMOTV
By Keith Eldridge
Aug 15, 2003

VANCOUVER, WASH - David Brame and his wife Crystal appeared to be the perfect couple. But after he took her life and his own, the tragic truth came out.

Crystal was afraid of her husband.

But she was also afraid to complain to police because he was one of their own.

Now the Tacoma mayor and interim police chief want a system in place to handle domestic violence cases involving police officers and their spouses.

Tacoma is looking around the country for examples of successful domestic violence prevention programs within police departments. There aren't many, but a leading program is just down I-5 in Vancouver, Washington.

The Clark County Sheriff's office has what is being touted as one of the best prevention and reporting programs in the nation.

The program has a set of protocols for responding to 911 calls for help from police officer wives and husbands. A supervisor is immediately called to the scene, and 911 tapes are preserved. There is an established system for how the investigations are to be handled, and there are specific penalties for investigating officers who do not respond appropriately.

"Victims are going to get the support they need to get them through the system, and there's going to be a thorough investigation," Sheriff Garry Lucas explains. "Based upon that, reports are going to be submitted to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor is going to have to make a decision about what they're going to do."

But the sheriff admits you may not always be able to prevent domestic violence within his ranks. Partly, because some alleged victims fear their spouse will lose his or her job.

"There is a reluctance on the part of some victims to report," says Sheriff Lucas. "So I can't say with absolute assurance that if you enact a policy that is similar to Clark County's that you're never going to have an issue of domestic violence in your organization."

But at least there's a plan in place to give wives and husbands the assurance that they'll be handled fairly.

http://www.komotv.com/stories/26653.htm

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Prosecutors won't charge unnamed Tacoma police commander

...The officer - one of 25 department commanders - was not placed on administrative leave but was closely supervised during the investigations...

Prosecutors won't charge Tacoma police commander
The News Tribune
Karen Hucks
August 14th, 2003

A Tacoma police commander investigated for domestic violence after third-hand allegations that he stalked his wife won't face criminal charges.

"We decided not to file any charges, due to insufficient evidence," said Cort O'Connor, a Pierce County deputy prosecutor heading the misdemeanor domestic violence unit.

The investigation began after John Hathaway, author of an Internet publication often critical of the city, on July 10 sent acting Police Chief Don Ramsdell excerpts of an anonymous e-mail he received containing the allegations.

Tacoma police asked the Pierce County Sheriff's Department to follow up on the criminal investigation and conduct an Internal Affairs query.

The officer - one of 25 department commanders - was not placed on administrative leave but was closely supervised during the investigations.

The News Tribune is not naming the officer because he neither was charged with a crime nor had an internal investigation sustain any allegations against him.

Karen Hucks: 253-597-8660
karen.hucks@mail.tribnet.com