Domestic Violence, Pt 3

Aurora - An Aurora police officer resigns after he's charged with domestic battery. Police arrested Officer Roger Grammer at a home in Manchester, Indiana this morning. Investigators did not release details about the assault. 30-year old Grammer is in the Ripley County jail tonight. He was moved from Dearborn County to Ripley County for his own safety. He'll stay in jail until he sees a judge. That will not happen before Monday.

St. Thomas - Domestic violence-related charges have been upheld against a V.I. police officer who was arrested Friday morning. According to the probable cause fact sheet, Officer Aisha Smith, 33, of Contant, after an argument over her police radio battery and the transport of her child to a doctor. The victim said he was standing on the porch and Smith approached him, demanding her battery. She then took her gun from its holster and waved it around and insisted that she had to have her battery. Smith fired one shot, he said.

An Abbeville police officer has been charged with choking his girlfriend during a domestic dispute in Ozark. Ozark Police Chief Tony Spivey said Gregory James Wetzel was released from custody Thursday afternoon after police had charged him with domestic violence simple assault, a misdemeanor crime. Spivey said the charge is a class A misdemeanor, which could lead to up to a year in the county jail if he is convicted. "She was choked from behind," Spivey said. "She did have visible injuries, but they required no medical treatment."

When I started this series a few months ago I decided to do a Google Alert on a few key phrases. All of the alerts were for domestic violence and police. I received hundreds of hits on the topic. The above are just a few that I picked at random. I was not surprised at the numbers. Domestic violence in America is on the rise. Officers are not immune to the same issues as the public. We are not infallible. It does occur in our profession.

Many factors come into play leading to domestic violence issues at home. For the first time in my thirty seven year career there are layoffs of police officers. Second jobs are not available to supplement income. The economy is in a lull. Next the family income decreases due to a spouse loosing their job adding to income problems.

With decreases in personnel call volume is up leading to a heightened alert which leads to fatigue and fraying of nerves. Leave requests are frequently denied in these times. Officers need down time away from the job. I understand the duty before benefits for management but, we need to recognize officers need R-and-R.

Officers are dealing with domestic calls at work daily. With the influx of these calls in addition to others leads to officers taking the job home with them. We all take the job home but, we did not have the issues we are dealing with today a few years ago.

Again these are just a few. Yearly domestic violence training is mandatory in most states. That covers the department in that area but, what are we doing about assistance to our own? Just about nothing.

One of the issues to come out of the Katrina storm was the failure of departments to take care of their own. It was a lesson well learned. It is time for departments to recognize fatigue, stress, and the impact it takes on family life. I don't have all the answers to these problems and will not pretend I do however, if we don't take steps to take care of our own we will lose good officers.