Domestic violence training boost for Chicago police

December 3, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel is announcing the creation of a new inter-governmental task force to focus on developing state-of-the-art training for Chicago police officers. Those officers often are the first responders to calls for domestic violence.

Each year, CPD answers approximately 200,000 domestic calls.

The training will include three main components. First, the police department is developing an e-learning tool to refresh prior instruction. Secondly, police will work with the state's attorney's office to train officers to ensure accurate and detailed case reporting. Lastly, the Department of Family and Support Services and Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's network will train police about psychological and emotional effects of violence.

It took Tara Nance 12 years to finally leave an abusive relationship. Now 38 and working for a non-profit parent organization, Nance says having the courage to get out isn't easy, especially when she says, some police officers are not sympathetic.

"I think there is a disconnect between the victim and officers, unless officers have dealt with it personally, that is my experience," she said.

Nance's experience includes calling the police after her former boyfriend violated an order of protection 17 times, once by leaving a note under Nance's door.

"When police saw the note, the officer said, 'Well, it sounds like he is sorry.' And I was blown away because I felt unprotected," she said.

"If the police officer is not sensitive to the emotions, psychology sense of fear, vulnerability - we will not do our job as a city," Mayor Emanuel said.

Alderman Deborah Graham said she knows how hard it is to make the first call. She was a victim, she said.

"The courage to pick up the phone is so overwhelming, it is such a fearful moment in a person's life," Graham said.

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