New Minneapolis initiative to help reduce domestic violence
The Minneapolis Police Department and City Attorney’s Office are launching a new citywide program designed to reduce domestic violence. The domestic violence program, which will be implemented citywide by the end of the year, takes a two-fold approach. It involves increased investigative work by the officer responding to a call, so prosecutors will have additional information to make a viable case for prosecution. The new initiative also helps provide appropriate resources for people involved to prevent future domestic violence.
This program has been successfully piloted in the Fifth Precinct since February 2008. For the first time, the City has seen a significant increase in convictions for domestic violence. These new strategies implemented in the Fifth Precinct have been successful in increasing the prosecution rate of misdemeanor domestic violence-related cases 54.4% to 76.0%. This represents an overall 43% increase in the rate of successful prosecutions in the Fifth Precinct. The program is now being implemented at the Third Precinct and will be in place at all police precincts by the end of the year.
The new domestic police initiative will require every MPD patrol officer to check for the existence of and order for protection or domestic abuse no-contact order on every call; ask the victim if there are guns in the home or if the defendant has access to guns, and seize the gun under certain circumstances. Officers will also obtain a recorded statement from the defendant, have victims complete and sign the victim’s supplement, obtain a signed medical release from the victim at the time of the incident to help speed charging and prosecution efforts, take photos, collect physical evidence and question and gather contact information from all witnesses. Domestic violence is a top priority for both Minneapolis Police and City Attorney’s Office. The new initiative will provide the intervention to stop the behavior and prevent misdemeanor domestic offenders from becoming felony domestic violence offenders. Also, children who experience domestic violence often replicate the behavior as adults. Intervening at the misdemeanor level can mean putting a stop to the cycle and escalation of violence, even preventing homicide.
The City Attorneys Office has specialized prosecution team devoted just to the prosecution of domestic violence cases and collaborates with the 4th Judicial District in the misdemeanor domestic violence court, and with other community partners in innovative approaches to domestic violence issues.
For more information on what you can do to help prevent domestic violence or to help victims of domestic violence contact the Minnesota 24-Hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-866-223-1111 or visit the police departments domestic abuse page . .
Updated March 24, 2009
Published Mar. 17, 2009