Response team works to eliminate domestic violence deaths in Yakima County
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.- It's a crime police respond to almost every day but they'll play it safe every time they arrive on scene.
“Very rarely does a deputy go into one of those scenes by themselves. They'll wait. He or she will wait until they get backup,” Chief Robert Udell with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said.
That crime is domestic violence.
Udell said the call may innocent at first, but it can quickly a turn for the worst.
“Maybe just a couple people pushing each other or we'll get that it's just a verbal argument. We get there and someone's been stabbed, because they can escalate so fast,” he said.
Police said the city of Yakima has seen two domestic violence deaths this year and there's been three more in the lower valley.
While there's been five deaths overall, the county sees thousands of calls for domestic violence every year.
To reduce that number going forward, the Yakima County Coordinated Community Response Team meets to see how they can better handle these crimes before they get deadly.
Detective Michael Durbin is part of Yakima’s Special Assault Unit. He said the county standardized domestic violence reports to make it easier for the prosecutor’s office to use in court.
“Since it's standardized, they know what to look for. What may be missing, what kind of follow up needs to be done,” he said.
The response team also brings together all the agencies who deal with domestic violence. From law enforcement to the prosecutor’s office and health professionals.
Durbin said this collaboration gives them a better idea of how to fill the cracks within the system. Which can help keep criminals off the streets before they re-offend or hurt someone else.
“I might not know that we're lacking in other areas like probation services or treatment. Records they might not have or need,” he said.
Members also get sent to different types of training. Durbin said it helps him find new ways or techniques to better investigate domestic violence cases.