CITY OF PENSACOLA, FL
Mayor John R. Fogg

Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies

The main objective of this project was to procure funds for the hiring of a victim's advocate for the Pensacola Police Department; to purchase 100 Polaroid camera kits and one video camera for the purpose of documenting victim injuries and to aid in the prosecution of offenders; and to purchase a computer system for tracking offenders from the time a complaint is filed through post-sentencing.

A high number of domestic violence victims return to situations to be repeatedly abused because they think they have no other option; they have no employment training, have no source of income, have dependent children, and are intimidated and frightened. The aim of the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies Program is to educate victims of domestic violence that they do have options other than staying in an abusive relationship that may be life-threatening.

The Pensacola Police Department, in conjunction with the State Attorney's Office, and The Currie House (Lutheran Ministries local shelter) will develop an internal policy for arrest procedures in cases involving domestic violence offenders and offenders who violate the terms of valid protection orders. The State Attorney's Office will assist the police department with the implementation of a policy and training program to improve tracking of domestic violence cases. The police department plans to hire a Victim's Advocate for this purpose and to assist and educate victims, as well as police officers, regarding the type of changes required to break the cycle of violence, and to specifically train officers in how to adequately assist victims. Additionally, the department will seek assistance from outside, non-governmental organizations, such as The Currie House and the Rape Crisis Center, to identify ways to coordinate community efforts to better implement arrest policies and to provide quality assistance for the victims of domestic violence with an emphasis on the demographics of minority communities and children. The department will also purchase Spectra cameras for the purpose of documenting injuries inflicted on victims. The photographs will be used to enhance prosecution of offenders. Polaroid will train police officers in camera operation, and the State Attorney's office will train officers on what types of photographs are necessary for successful prosecution. Overall, the program seeks to provide an aggressive, balanced approach to domestic violence. Immediate accountability of the offender would be accompanied by immediate intervention for the victim.

The Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies operates under an 18-month federal grant of $87,085 from the Violence Against Women Grants Office. This funding supports the training of approximately 127 police officers, and the salary for one Victim's Advocate.

CONTACT: Inspector Wayne Todd, 711 N. Hayne Street, Pensacola, FL 32501, Telephone - (904) 435-1858, Fax - (904) 435-1914.

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