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franklin county times

New cops to get expanded training

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
New additions to Franklin County's finest will soon begin receiving information on how to deal with domestic violence situations as part of their new officer orientation.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Department, Russellville Police Department and the Red Bay Police Department will begin to incorporate the new training in their new hire orientation
"We are still in the planning stages of this new program, but we feel this will help new officers when they go out [to domestic violence] calls," Suzanne Swaim with Safeplace, Inc. said.
Safeplace, Inc. will soon provide newly hired officers with information regarding officer liability, officer safety, dynamics of a domestic violence situation and understanding protection from abuse orders, Swaim said.
The training is a much needed tool for new officers because they aren't always up to speed with the new laws, and procedures involved with domestic violence cases, David Hester, co-chair of the Franklin County Domestic Violence Coalition, said.
"A lot of officers don't realize the seriousness of the domestic violence," Hester said.
In Alabama, the law says that if there is physical evidence of a domestic violence crime, there must be an arrest made on the scene.
"If an officer leaves the scene without making an arrest, the officer can be criminally liable should the victim be killed during the altercation," Hester said.
Statistically, a female victim will leave her abuser seven times before committing to end the relationship. Hester said that this leaves officers called to the same residence multiple times, which is frustrating to many officers especially new hires.
"The officer's actions can result in either the life or death of a victim," Hester said.
Another aspect with domestic violence which officers should be aware of is mental and verbal abuse.
"Mental and verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse because they leave scars that 'I'm sorry' won't help," Hester said.
The new officer orientation is one of several programs in Franklin County offered through Safeplace, Inc. and the Franklin County Domestic Violence Coalition. For information on programs offered by Safeplace, Inc. or to gain shelter from an abusive relationship, call 331-0477.