The Ozark Police Department wants to improve the way their city deals with domestic violence calls. With the help of the Dale County Domestic Abuse Task Force, they're adopting a new set of guidelines for their police officers who answer domestic violence calls.
Ozarks Police Chief Tony Spivey said that they have a program in place, but no strict guidelines. The new protocol, which is effective immediately, will give everyone guidelines to follow in these kinds of cases.
Within the past four months, Ozarks Police Department has answered more than 600 domestic violence calls
"We've had officers injured in domestic violence instances; you don't know what you're walking into," said Chief Tony Spivey.
Because of these dangers, police department officials have teamed up with Dale County’s Domestic Violence Task Force to come up with standard guidelines for Ozark’s officers to follow when such a call comes in.
The guidelines are designed to help improve communications from dispatchers to officers, strengthen victim’s assistance, and improve the way municipal courts handle the cases.
"A lot of times they work off different documentation because of various protocols and some folks do things one way, while others do it another way," said Jessica Rash.
Chief Spivey said these protocols are no different for officers who violate the law
"If you're convicted, you can't carry a gun, then you can't be a police officer, and this gives a responding officer guideline on how to deal with that," said Angelia Enfinger, Dale Co. Domestic Abuse Task Force.
Other city police departments are considering adopting similar policies for dealing with domestic violence
During Wednesday’s press conference, digital cameras were also given out so officers can take pictures of victim's injuries on the spot. The hope is that will decrease the chances that victims will decide to drop charges.
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