Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 28, 2013

Raising domestic violence awareness


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

LEFFLER: How so?

VOUTOUR: It had brought it to the limelight nationwide. And there were several laws passed. Including New York state. For really a zero tolerance for domestic violence. And a pro-arrest policy.

EGGERT: Actually Niagara County was the first county to embrace the new philosophy. So Niagara County was on the forefront. Even back then.

LAROSE: In 1994, there were 12 homicides in the county. And seven of those were domestic violence homicides.

LEFFLER: Officer safety. You mentioned that it is a concern with domestic violence calls. And of course there is the high volume of them. Is there special training that officers go through. That deputies go through?

VOUTOUR: Absolutely. We go through the same training, our officers. Both Larry’s and mine. But it’s always a two-man call or a two-police officer call. We never send a sole officer to a domestic. We’re not always afforded the luxury of having two officers there right away. Sometimes one gets there first and has to intervene before the second one gets there.

EGGERT: It’s obviously closer in the city. As long as we’re not backed up.

VOUTOUR: We teach them to separate if they can. In particular if something’s violent. They’re always looking out for the safety of the officer. Checking for weapons. And that begins with the 911 call. Our dispatchers are trained to ask if they’re intoxicated. Ask if there’s weapons. Ask if those weapons have been threatened or used. And we try to get as much information to the officer on his way to the call so that he has some type of idea what he’s walking into. As I said it’s a pro-arrest policy. If the officer has probable cause that a felony was committed, he must make an arrest. He must make an arrest if there’s a violation of an order of protection. I’m saying the word 'he,' but both of us have many females on our staff. I’m using the term like the dictionary uses. It’s a little bit different in violation cases.

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