Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —
Editor's note: What follows is a pared down version of an interview conducted Thursday between US&J Managing Editor Joyce Miles, City Editor Scott Leffler, Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour, Lockport City Police Chief Larry Eggert, Niagara County Domestic Violence Coordinator Susan LaRose and Assistant District Attorney Lisa Baehre, who prosecutes domestic violence cases in Niagara County. The topic was domestic violence, particularly how law enforcement handles it.
LEFFLER: Basically, my concern is, I want to know how each department handles domestic violence. ... I have heard some things from different people that seems disconcerting. And I’ve heard some things from different people that seems great. So I thought this would be a good way for the newspaper to tackle domestic violence awareness month and get the information out there. We seem to have the major players in the room and we’ll just chat. ... We’ll start with the county. Jim, in terms of what your department sees, what goes across your desk, how big of a problem would you say domestic violence is in Niagara County?
VOUTOUR: It’s major. It’s a major problem. Probably the only thing that would rival it would be car accidents, I would think. It’s probably our second most call that we handle. And they’re extremely difficult calls to handle. They can be extremely dangerous calls to handle for the patrol officers.
MILES: It’s a broad term. What all does it encompass?
VOUTOUR: It really encompasses any incident between two people with some type of relationship. It’s really a broad definition. It can be boyfriend/girlfriend, it can be husband/wife, it can be child and parent. It’s anybody that has a relationship. And that’s set forth by New York State law. ... As far as the enforcement of it, Scott, the game changed in the summer of ‘94 with the killing of O.J. Simpson’s wife. I might add by O.J. Simpson. But I wasn’t there. But it really changed it and that was my first year on the job.