Mayor Abel Maldonado

Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence

In July, 1996, under a $178,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Santa Maria began a program to assist victims of domestic violence by providing alternatives to their abusive relationships, primarily through counseling and referrals to various social agencies. The effort also works to help victims through the judicial process, and provides follow-up counseling. The grant supports the work of one police officer, and six civilian domestic violence counselors.

Upon receiving a domestic disturbance call, Santa Maria Police Department officers contact a domestic violence counselor to respond to the scene of the incident. This program is run by Shelter Services for Women of Santa Barbara County. The program's success is measured by repeat domestic violence calls to the same household, or a lack thereof. Counselors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and respond within 15 minutes. Weekly meetings to discuss cases and measure program success are held between counselors and a female, bilingual Hispanic officer from the Santa Maria Police Department.

CONTACT: Officer Maria Giese, 222 E. Cook Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454, Telephone -(805) 928-3781, Fax - (805) 922-0877.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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