Mayor Robert G. Frie

Domestic Violence Investigations Unit

In April 1997 the Jefferson Country District Attorney's Office, the Arvada Police Department and five other law enforcement agencies, Jefferson Country Probation, and several victim services providers were awarded a $582,000 grant by the Office of Justice Programs to address domestic violence issues within the county. Each agency identified goals and objectives for programs to be initiated with this funding. The Arvada Police Department was awarded $82,000 to begin a Domestic Violence Unit within the Criminal Investigations Bureau -- the only police agency involved to establish a unit dedicated solely to domestic violence. This funding covers the salary for one full-time Investigator, and additional expenditures from the general fund budget covers the costs of 2 full-time Victim Advocates, 5 volunteers and equipment.

County-wide objectives established under the program include:

  1. Hold domestic violence perpetrator legally and progressively accountable through a uniform criminal justice response;

  2. Develop a centralized computer system to track arrests and convictions of domestic violence perpetrators in municipalities throughout Jefferson County;

  3. Institute a policy of increased sanctions for repeat domestic violence offenders in municipal and county courts;

  4. Develop a unified domestic violence courts for all Jefferson County misdemeanor cases;

  5. Provide two assistant district attorneys to screen and prosecute domestic violence cases;

  6. Increase specialized supervision services for perpetrators of domestic violence with additional staff at Pretrial and Diversion services;

  7. Provide specialized training to service providers;

  8. Enhance domestic violence prosecution for cases with or without a victim/witness;

  9. Provide Polaroid cameras to each municipality and sheriff's department as needed;

  10. Hire one police trainer to develop specialized training;

  11. Provide for police overtime to assist in serving outstanding warrants, transport and investigations;

  12. Increase victim safety;

  13. Provide victim advocate response to all domestic violence calls;

  14. Provide guaranteed shelter bed space to victims; and

  15. Provide victim/witness support throughout the court process.

The Arvada Police Department began operation of its unit on April 1, 1997. Initially, all domestic violence- related paperwork was streamlined to insure effective flow through the criminal justice system. All domestic violence cases are now reviewed by the Investigator to insure patrol investigations are complete. Those cases requiring further investigations, both misdemeanor and felony, are assigned to the Investigator. The Investigator also works an evening/weekend schedule so that he/she is available to respond to domestic violence scenes to provide support and assistance. When repeat offenders are identified, the Investigator dismisses the misdemeanor municipal case and re-files the case in county court.

Victim Advocates are available 24 hours a day to provide assistance to domestic violence victims. Patrol officers contact an on-call Victim Advocate immediately upon the arrest of a domestic violence suspect. Initial intervention, education and placement are initiated at this time. Follow-up services, including compensation for injury and certain damages, are provided the following business day.

The unit attacks the problem of domestic violence from two directions. First, the unit is dedicated to enhanced investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators of domestic violence. Second, victim advocacy is provided immediately to victims in an effort to enhance self-esteem, safety and autonomy. The goal is to reduce recidivism and eliminate the cycle of violence and initial indications of effectiveness have been positive.

Contact: Sergeant G.C. Creager, Arvada Police Department, P.O. Box 8101, Arvada, CO 80001-8101, Telephone - (303) 431-3062, Fax - (303) 431-3036 .

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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