A Paradigm Shift in Police Domestic Violence Intervention: From Specialized Units to a Full Spectrum Police Response

Paula Van Beek, Governors State University
Jagan R. Lingamneni, Governors State University

The advent of grants has been the catalyst for the implementation of specialized domestic violence units within police departments. The vast problems with these units have resulted in a limited and fragmented response system. Literature and practitioners acknowledge the vital role of the first responder or patrol officer but few police departments expend the resources to provide them with the expertise level of a 'specialized' domestic violence officer/detective. The findings of domestic violence research have contributed a wealth of knowledge of which practitioners remain largely unaware. Generally, models which claim to incorporate the community are simply incorporating the community of practitioners and the lay-citizen.

The full spectrum response model not only eliminates the shortcomings of specialized units it seeks to build on research findings and utilize the first-hand knowledge of the patrol officer and entails training of all police department personnel. An advisory committee composed primarily of first responders oversees the design and implementation of policies/procedures and coordinates the community component. Because every member of a community has a certain degree of accountability for the crime, involvement of community groups, agencies and businesses are essential in the search for solutions and prevention.

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Updated 05/20/2006