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Domestic violence through the eyes of police

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 18:18:24-04

Handling a domestic violence call is one the toughest parts of being a police officer. Police are forced to get emotionally heated issues under control.

"It's certainly the most dangerous calls that we can go on. Domestic violence calls are very unpredictable. You have to have compassion when you approach them, but you have to be vigilant," Lt. Thomas Haynes with Town of Tonawanda Police Department said.

According to ThinkProgress.org more than 20% of the 132 law enforcement officers killed between 2010 and 2014 were responding to domestic disputes. Leiutenant Thomas Haynes says these calls can tricky. Officers must carefully plan an approach.

"Determining whether we have the right assets in place to safely handle the call. Not just for our selves, but for the people that are affected by that," Haynes said.

On Sunday night, police say 27-year-old Justin Walters shot and killed veteran New York State Tropper, Joel Davis. He was responding to a domestic violence call at Walters home when it happened. Walters' wife was also found dead.

Each year there are nearly 2,000 new cases of domestic violence reported in Erie County. Many of the victims come through Mary Travers-Murphy's office, at the Family Justice Center. She said domestic abuse is about power and control. It's not easy for victims to leave those relationships after being brainwashed by the perpetrator.

"When somebody leaves one of these abusive relationships it is the most dangerous point. it can accelerate to a fatality just like that which is why it's so critical to be working with the domestic violence advocate with a safety plan and knows the system," Travers-Murphy said.

If you are a domestic violence victim or know someone who needs help, contact the Family Justice Center at (716) 558-SAFE (7233).