Updated 08/24/2011 05:18 PM
New training to enhance police response to domestic violence calls
Authorities in the Mohawk Valley have seen firsthand how domestic violence calls can turn dangerous. Our Sarah Blazonis stopped by a training session for law enforcement aimed at enhancing response.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
UTICA, N.Y. -- Utica Police Officer Ashley Cave says the more prepared officers are to face any situation, the better. That's especially true when it comes to domestic violence calls.
"Very easily, they go bad," Officer Cave said. "You know, it's one of the most dangerous situations that we're faced with."
Mohawk Valley officers have seen that danger firsthand. Most recently, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman was fatally shot in June while responding to a domestic situation.
Cave and officers from 16 other agencies attended a two-day training program sponsored by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services aimed keeping victims, and officers, safe.
"How to do some kind of assessment on domestic violence cases and try to get a best sense of what the risk is, both for the victim and for the officers responding to the scene," said Amy Barasch, executive director of the State of New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
Officers are also brushing up on new state laws cracking down on offenders.
One of the changes being focused on involves new regulations when it comes to dealing with strangulation cases, something officials say can go a long way towards breaking the cycle of domestic violence.
"Many times we would be talking to a victim who was within moments of death and you're trying to explain, 'Well, it's not even really a crime and jail's probably not even going to be an issue,'" said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara.
Domestic violence calls account for 25 percent of all aggravated assaults police respond to and officers say making it easier to prosecute also makes their job a little easier.
"It makes one less dangerous situation for us if that person has already been prosecuted and taken away," said Officer Cave.
Officer Cave and her classmates say they'll make sure their colleagues are also prepared by training them based on information learned in the program.