SYCAMORE – Two police officers became trainers for a domestic violence prevention training program last week, Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters said Monday during the City Council meeting.
Winters said this is the first time the department has undergone training through the Lethality Assessment Program, originally created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. He said the training program is held in conjunction with Safe Passage of DeKalb County, which provides services for victims of domestic abuse.
Mary Ellen Schaid, executive director for Safe Passage, said the training helps first responders survey a victim during a domestic disturbance or violence call and helps victims better understand what resources are available to them.
Along with the two officers going through training as trainers, Winters said, the goal is to get all Sycamore police officers trained through the program starting this summer, so the program can be fully implemented by the fall.
“It’s really just an enhancement to what they’re already doing to try to identify situations where there could be a potential for higher violence in domestic-related incidents,” Winters said.
Winters said Sycamore police officers have responded to 168 domestic disturbance calls, most of which regarded verbal altercations, so far this year. He said that’s fairly close to the number of calls from last year at the same time, which was 162.
“It’s a problem that we deal with on a daily basis,” Winters said. “We believe the Lethality Assessment Program that we’re entering into with Safe Passage will help them provide better service to victims of domestic violence.”
Schaid said the first training was Friday and six local police departments, including Sycamore, were represented. She said the program out of Maryland was brought to the county after Lidia Juarez was shot to death by her estranged husband in her workplace parking lot last year.
“We don’t want that to happen to any more people here in DeKalb County,” Schaid said.