Lauderdale County Domestic Violence Unit Sees Record Number of Cases, Combats Abuse
LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Law enforcement officers in the Shoals respond to domestic violence situations every day.
According to national statistics, abuse by a partner is on the rise. Now victims have a helping hand in the form of the Lauderdale County Domestic Violence Unit.
In order to give the victim, a voice – an investigator follows up on all domestic violence cases, even misdemeanors. Florence Police Chief, Ron Tyler says, it’s these situations that often escalate.
“The problem in the past is this, evidence would suggest domestic violence homicides are the result of long term, destructive domestic incidences, they continue to progress,” said Chief Tyler.
According to Chief Tyler, in 2009, there were more domestic homicides in Lauderdale County than any other county in the state, sparking a concern and verifying a need for a domestic violence officer.
“The good thing we have seen with the full time domestic violence investigator, with or without the full cooperation of the victim, we are able to bring these cases to a successful resolution, a criminal conviction in municipal court,” said Chief Tyler.
Just one Florence police officer is in charge of every domestic violence case. And with more than a thousand cases every year, Chief Tyler says the workload is daunting and the unit could use more officers. Chief Tyler says the department is always looking for grants to fund the program.
However, the Florence police chief says, even with just one investigator fighting for hundreds of victims, the results have been rewarding.
“I think those victims have responded by saying somebody believes me, somebody is listening to me and I think to that end it`s been extremely successful because the victims realize we are interested in their case, trying to get them help, and hold the offender accountable,” said Chief Tyler.
Chief Tyler says it’s a successful program with room to expand, turning abused victims, into domestic violence survivors.
The Lauderdale County Domestic Violence Unit works closely with Safeplace, giving victims resources on how to get help, when in an abusive situation.
The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department and district attorney’s office, also partner with the program.