Police Plan More Detailed Investigations Of Domestic Violence Cases
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Detectives inside the Metro Police Department's domestic violence division are getting more time to investigate cases involving spouses after reports discovered that over the past five years more than half of all aggravated assaults and murders were committed by spouses or significant others.
This past summer's murder of a woman inside a dentist office was domestic violence at it's very worst.48 year old Vickie Pearsall was shot and killed by her estranged husband. He later committed suicide.
"She doesn't have to worry about whether she is going to get beat up. I know she is safe now," said Gina Strange, daughter of Vickie Pearsall.
The victim's daughter believes the murder could have been prevented. Metro Police aren't sure. They knew about a history of domestic violence dating back almost 4 years. Gilbert Pearsall was arrested three times, but charges were dismissed or reduced because Vicki didn't show up for court. Three months before she was killed Vickie moved out of the house and filed for divorce.
"I understand she was driving a different car, but this is a very dangerous time for the victim when they choose to leave the aggressor," said Metro Police Detective Kay Lokey.
Captain Lokey says it's the time when the aggressor feels he has lost control of the situation and he's able to do anything. He has been looking for ways to reduce the number of aggravated assaults and murders related to domestic violence.
"You know what could we have done different knowing that she had separated. Well, I don't think we understood she had separated," said Captain Lokey.
Captain Lokey is reducing the case load on her detectives as much as 30 percent, so they have more time to follow up with victims with a history of domestic violence. Domestic violence cases that don't involve spouses or significant others will be handled by patrol units.
"Our goal is let's spend more time with the victim. From the minute the suspect leaves jail we want to be talking to our victim. We want to talk to her to the point that it goes to trial, because we want her to show up. We want her to stand up for herself in court and make sure the proper thing is done," she said.
The hope is that women like Vicki Pearsall will get the help they need and not become another homicide victim. Captain Lokey's new initiative also includes an intervention panel of domestic violence experts. The panel will review cases where there are three or more incident reports involving the same people in a year. The panel may bring in outside resources like DCS or the YWCA to help some families.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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