Mayor Joe S. Frank

Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence Grant

In response to a growing domestic violence problem, the Newport News Police Department led a group of agencies involved in preventing and dealing with domestic violence in convening a discussion to develop a problem-solving model. The group viewed domestic violence as a public health issue -- not a criminal justice issue.

Their strategy called for cooperation among judges, prosecutors, mental health clinic and related private agencies. The Police Response to Incidents of Domestic Emergencies (PRIDE) program was established with the goal of steering couples with domestic violence problems into counseling.

The overall goal of the PRIDE program will be to provide a city-wide service approach to offenders and victims, including children, of domestic violence. Objectives include:

  • Reduce the violence associated with domestic violence calls through mandatory arrests, referral and participation in appropriate prevention programs;

  • Improve the responsiveness of the service providers, including the police department, courts, Commonwealth's Attorney, victim witness coordinators, and private agencies involved in services for domestic violence cases;

  • Provide the coordination and evaluation of the PRIDE program to enable the system to adjust to current needs and problems through reactivation of the PRIDE Force;

  • Train police officers and other service providers in the services available from each participating agency so a system-wide approach is cohesive and communication is improved;

  • Assign domestic violence cases to the officers assigned to the PRIDE unit, ensuring proper follow-up and coordination of the cases throughout the criminal justice system.

The Newport News Police Department has hired a sergeant, police officer, case manager and staff assistant with $209,556 in U.S. Department of Justice and city of Newport News funding who will form the PRIDE Unit. That unit is the nucleus of activity for domestic violence. Staff in the PRIDE unit is responsible for ensuring the momentum of interagency coordination, following the guidelines of the formalized agreements, establishing a data base of domestic violence cases, tracking cases in court and through counseling and diversion programs, establishing standard operating procedures for the PRIDE Force, and training and education of force members and of police department personnel. They will also be a high visibility unit within the community, offering to appear at Crime Watch groups, schools, churches and other neighborhood organizations to discuss the problem of domestic violence in our community and ways to combat the problem. Finally, they are responsible for constantly assessing the response to domestic violence in the city of Newport News and will present periodic evaluative information to the PRIDE Force.

CONTACT: Sergeant Mike New, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607, Telephone - (757) 926-8706, Fax - (757) 247-8574.

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