Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gary Goes to the Citizens Police Academy – S.07

Session 7 of the Citizens Police Academy concerned the hot button issue of domestic violence. I came away from the session with the impression that domestic violence is a hereditary disease.
Sgt. Williams, the jovial, animated instructor, told us about his encounter with domestic violence as a rookie officer. This encounter concerned a 70 year old woman, and her husband of the same age. When Sgt. Williams and his partner initially responded to the residence he noticed that the woman had an enormous bump on her head. Her husband readily admitted causing the bump.
The home of a polite elderly couple with many years of marriage behind them, as well as numerous children and grandchildren, was not exactly the venue where Sgt. Williams had expected to encounter domestic violence. Still, there it was. The elderly abuser was quite polite, and forthcoming, so Sgt. Williams engaged him in a dialogue.
As a wet behind the ears rookie, and a newly married husband, Sgt. Williams was anxious to learn how the polite elderly patriarch could, at this late point in his life, find himself as a admitted domestic violence abuser. Sgt. Williams learned that on the eve of his wedding night, as his parting words, his father advised the young groom that the key to a happy marriage is by upholding the family tradition of domestic violence. This bit of fatherly wisdom, the elder patriarch admitted passing onto his sons. Even if fathers do not tell their sons, as with the elderly abuser, they show them. In this way the disease spreads.
Each day the police get 600 calls regarding domestic partnership incidents. A large number of these incidents become violent. So, what are the police doing about domestic violence? We learned, they are doing the best they can.
No law in the NYS Penal Code specifically targets domestic violence. The best the police can do is to take orders of protection seriously, (a violator is subject to immediate arrest), and to create a unit which follows up on domestic violence reports, (which they have). However, with just 300 domestic dispute officers citywide to cover a 600 call a day problem there will, of course, continue to be a problem. This disease is not helped by the fact that given the emotional nature of the issue, there is little space for the sort of discussions, and thought, which would work toward eradicating the disease.
New week we are onto counter terrorism. A hot button issue in its own way.
I am sooo already there!

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