From Staff Reports
CUMBERLAND — To better support victims of domestic violence, the Maryland State Police is assigning domestic violence investigation coordinators at each installation throughout the state.
Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Marcus Brown has directed each of the 22 barrack commanders to assign a specially trained criminal supervisor to the position.
At the Cumberland barrack, Detective Sgt. Patrick Lacy and Senior Trooper Eric Schramm will be working together and overseeing the state’s domestic violence initiative, according to Lt. Mike Fluharty, barrack commander.
In Garrett County, Lt. Mark Rodeheaver, commander of the McHenry barrack, said he has appointed Detective Sgt. Steve Vincent to serve as the domestic violence commander. He said Vincent would be working with all the troopers at the barrack in addressing domestic violence complaints.
I think this will reduce our call-backs for domestic violence complaints and it should reduce the number of repeat offenders, said Rodeheaver.
The coordinator will review each incident reported at the barrack that involves or may be related to domestic violence and will conduct follow-up interviews with each victim. During the interview, the coordinator can offer assistance in obtaining a protective order.
In addition, the coordinator will put the victim in contact with a counselor to help develop a plan of action to prevent any further abuse.
By assigning domestic violence coordinators at each barrack, troopers can better serve victims living in these horrible situations, Brown said. The coordinators will ensure all available resources are utilized to protect the rights and safety of the victims and their families. The Maryland State Police is committed to make certain that each domestic violence investigation is conducted in a thorough and professional manner, yielding the best chance to end the cycle of violence and successfully prosecute the abuser.
The coordinators receive specialized training pertaining to domestic violence investigations. Each coordinator will have contact with resources in the barrack area to assist victims dealing with the aftermath of abuse.
Each trooper has received entry-level training in domestic violence focused on helping the victims and their families. Troopers conduct domestic violence lethality screening, seize any weapons as policy allows, take photographs, conduct initial interviews of victims and witnesses, and provide contact information for the domestic violence coordinator on call. The troopers also provide contact information for a victim’s advocate and encourage the victim to call for assistance.
Victims who experience physical or sexual abuse, or people who know someone who may be a victim, are asked to contact state police or their local police department. A variety of service agencies are available to assist those who do not want to talk with police.
For statewide assistance, victims contact the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence at www.mnadv.org or 800-MD-HELP.
These efforts are in concert with the Service Training Officers Prosecutors and the Violence Against Women Act, which are programs administered by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.