Baltimore police to expand domestic violence reduction program

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Baltimore police will be increasing efforts to crack down on suspected domestic violence offenders through the use of a $750,000 federal grant to expand a program aimed at reducing domestic violence.

The grant will fund a new program known as the Domestic Violence Reduction Initiative in three Baltimore police districts, and it will be expanded at some point to include the entire city.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the mayor of Baltimore said that the problem of domestic violence needs more solutions than just City Hall. This federal grant money will be used in part to pay police overtime in the Family Crimes Unit. The unit serves warrants, protective orders and meets with victims of domestic violence in their homes.

Money will also be used to pay the salary of an individual to coordinate the program and ensure that Baltimore officers are performing lethality assessments with victims.

Officers in the Northern, Northeast and Southern Districts completed 3,900 lethality assessments so far, which are designed to establish whether there is a good chance that a violent crime may be committed in an ongoing domestic violence case. A Spanish language version of the lethality assessment is also set to be implemented.

The Police Commissioner of Baltimore reported officers have served 1,100 warrants in 2011 and that the grant money will allow them to process additional warrants.

A separate $339,000 state grant will be used to fund a supervised visitation center where parents can exchange custody of their children. The visitation center is scheduled to open within the next year.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “City police expand domestic violence reduction program,” Luke Broadwater, Oct. 3, 2011