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New job after domestic cases

County detective returns to patrol after 8 years helping victims

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 11:05 p.m. CST
Caption
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Detectives Jackie Hill (left) and Sarah Frazier of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office look over a previous case for training purposes Friday in Sycamore. Frazier, who investigates domestic violence cases, is returning to patrol in January and training Hill to take over her position.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Detective Sarah Frazier figures it’s time to move on.

Frazier is handing her position over to Detective Jackie Hill to return to patrol in January after eight years of handling domestic violence cases.

The decision wasn’t easy for Frazier.

“I’ll miss it all,” she said. “You get wrapped up in the lives of the victims ... but I did what I could. We needed to be there, ready to help them.”

When Frazier started, she was the county’s only officer devoted to handling domestic violence cases in a job she said two officers could do. Now, in addition to Frazier, the county has four patrol officers who work on domestic violence cases part-time: three from DeKalb and one from Sycamore.

Frazier’s job left her scarred as well. In 2010, she was intentionally run over in a car driven by a 34-year-old DeKalb woman, requiring a total of four shoulder surgeries.

The woman, Megan Zielinski, of the 500 block of Green Street, was involved in a car chase on March 1, 2010, after law enforcement attempted to pull her over in Winnebago County. Zielinski fled through four counties, ending up at Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park in Sycamore.

Frazier was at Evergreen Village dropping off a domestic violence victim from court, she said. She followed Zielinski and approached the stopped car, ordering Zielinski to get out.

Instead, Zielinski accelerated, knocking Frazier to the ground, authorities said. Zielinski was sentenced to eight years in prison for aggravated battery or harming a police officer.

“It changed me a bit,” Frazier said.

Hill will soon take over domestic violence cases. The job description includes talking to victims and DeKalb County prosecutors regularly and occasionally talking to suspects.

Hill has already taken a 60-hour training class through Safe Passage, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving DeKalb County. She will also study past cases and learn how to fill out paperwork and investigate new cases.

Frazier gave Hill a thick, three-ring binder about an old stalking case for Hill to study. Stalking cases are time-consuming, Frazier said.

“I wanted to do something which involves digging and following up on things,” Hill said. “Being able to arrest someone, helping victims get away from bad situations, I’m doing something where it actually could feel like it matters.”

Hill started working in the DeKalb County Jail and was transferred to patrol, where she has worked for four years.

Frazier said there are no pending cases of those she has investigated, so Hill likely will start the position by checking up on the victims.

Frazier said almost all of the domestic violence cases she has handled involve victims going back to the offenders after the first offense. According to Safe Passage, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

Hill said she wants to help take domestic violence perpetrators off the streets.

“All crime is important,” Hill said, “but if you can be a part of something and put someone away, it could save a life.”

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