CITY OF HIALEAH,
Domestic Violence Prevention/Intervention Program
The city of Hialeah has established the Domestic Violence Prevention/Intervention Program (D.V.P.I.P.) in an effort to address the ever-increasing problem of domestic violence. The various departmental components include its Community Policing Section, Domestic Violence Unit, Social Worker, Community Outreach Coordinator, Crime Watch Program and the D.A.R.E. Program.
The Community Policing Section utilizes the following preventive and intervention programs and methods in order to provide at-risk individuals and/or victims with the vital information, support or physical assistance needed in order to leave a relationship or situation involving domestic violence.
Each of the components of the D.V.P.I.P. are described as follows:
COMMUNITY POLICING PROGRAM
The Community Policing officers are assigned to follow-up investigations of domestic violence incidents which are received by the Community Policing Section within 24-hours of their documentation. The officers respond to the victim's home and ascertain his/her needs. The officers offer assistance as to the process to follow in order to obtain an injunction against the domestic violence and assure that the victim is placed in contact with a detective in the Domestic Violence Unit if the victim is in need of transportation to obtain an injunction order or attend a court-related function. Officers also provide the victims with a referral to an in-house social worker or other available social agencies or programs. Additionally, the victims are provided with a direct contact number to the Community Policing Section, and Community Police officers' beeper numbers in order to contact an officer familiar with the specifics of their situation and with whom a rapport has been established.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
The Domestic Violence Unit, although mainly a reactive unit, plays an intricate part in the Domestic Violence Program. In addition to the Community Policing Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit receives copies of the initial offense/incident report written by the patrol officer. The Domestic Violence Unit is in constant contact with the State Attorney's Office in reference to legal opinions which lead to the arrest and/or issuance of warrants involving domestic violence. In alliance with the Metro Dade Police Department Communications Section, probable cause felony messages on wanted subjects are entered into the county computer when there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate a warrant. The Domestic Violence Unit conducts surveillance on wanted subjects, and executes arrest warrants. Victims of domestic violence are turned over to Safe Space which houses battered victims while efforts are made to take the batterer/subject into custody. The victim is also provided support by means of transportation to court-related functions or to obtain the necessary injunctions.
SOCIAL SERVICES COUNSELING PROGRAM
An in-house social worker is assigned to the Community Policing Section and is readily available to victims of domestic violence, the child or children exposed to violence in the home and to the actual batterer. The social worker has contracted with several outside agencies to provide domestic violence prevention seminars. Weekly individual and family counseling sessions are provided to at-risk youths and families. The counseling sessions are geared to develop and/or enhance positive interaction and the development of coping skills. The social worker also provides families with a history of violence with referrals to local social service agencies such as the University of Miami Mailman Center which specialize in the area of children exposed to domestic violence.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM COORDINATOR
The Community Outreach Coordinator is assigned to City Hall and is available to citizens in need of information regarding domestic violence. The coordinator provides the victim with options such as social service programs, police intervention and/or protective program information. Direct referrals are also received from the Hialeah Housing Authorities in cases where domestic violence is suspected. The coordinator is also responsible for compiling a profile of victims and subjects of domestic violence for 1996. This comprehensive data provides an overview of the population and direct services which have been requested and services received.
CRIME WATCH PROGRAM
Montly Crime Watch meetings are provided in alliance with the Community Policing Section. Upon request, information in reference to domestic violence is provided to the crime watch participant by the attending police officer along with a brochure entitled "Violence: Domestic Violence in the Family." In addition, social service referrals are provided where the victim has yet to enter the criminal justice system due to the perpetrators arrest and/or the victim lacking the knowledge or support to request help.
Domestic violence prevention and intervention is also brought into focus in the educational arena. In order to combat present and/or future situations of domestic violence, officers of the Community Policing Section have been specially trained to teach curriculum to exit grade (5th or 6th grade) level students. These officers target the problems arising from domestic violence in two specific lesson plans called "Reducing Violence" and "Managing Stress Without Taking Drugs." Once again, in an effort to bring the problem of domestic violence to the forefront, the Domestic Violence Prevention/Intervention Program assures that today's youth are provided with information through education which might not otherwise reach the home where it is so desperately needed.
The Domestic Violence Prevention/Intervention Program has an annual budget of $1,363,272 in U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services funding. This supports the work of 21 police officers.
CONTACT: Lieutenant Orlando Aguilera, 5555 East 8th Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33013, Telephone - (305) 818-2981, Fax - (305) 818-2984.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.