Last updated: August 24. 2013 10:46PM - 68 Views

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We are between the two months that are dedicated to increasing awareness of Child Abuse Prevention (April) and Domestic Violence Prevention (October). However, the truth is that a collaborative effort needs to take place year-round to prevent these terrible problems.Many changes have occurred during the past several decades in the way law enforcement works with social service agencies to prevent domestic violence and human trafficking.Today, officers receive a great deal of training in recognizing and responding to these crimes, much of which was not available 25 years ago when I began my law enforcement career. The increased training and awareness begins at the police academy and continues throughout an officer's career. Just within the last two years, Lima Police Department personnel received training in providing better responses to crime victims, better gathering of evidence for domestic violence prosecutions, and improved responses to human trafficking.Additionally, state law has changed to allow a more effective intervention. Today, an officer does not need a victim's willingness to file charges against an abuser before making an arrest for domestic violence. In many cases, the victim is too afraid of their abuser to file charges on their own behalf, even though this is usually the best way to ensure the victim's safety. The officer, if able to obtain enough evidence to establish probable cause, will make an arrest for domestic violence with or without the victim's cooperation. Lima police officers benefit from many community partnerships and resources.Crossroads Crisis Center and Crime Victims Services now exist. The Family Abuse Prevention Team has been organized and consists of representatives from Crossroads Crisis Center, the Lima Municipal Court Prosecutor's Office, Crime Victim's Services, Children's Services, Allen County Board of Developmental Disability, both Adult and Juvenile Probation Departments, both local hospitals, and others. The Family Abuse Prevention Team developed the Allen County Domestic Violence Protocol in 1996. The protocol provides specific guidance for all service providers, when providing services to domestic violence victims. The Lima Police Department has implemented the protocol as official policy. Lima and Allen County government and human service agencies are effectively working together to assure that the victims of domestic abuse are treated humanely and that their abusers are prosecuted and punished.Kevin J. Martin is Lima police chief.

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