Yakima Police Update Walk-In Reporting Process for Victims of Domestic Violence | Local

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The Yakima Police Department has changed its procedures for people entering the police station to report an incident of domestic violence. The new process prioritizes the safety and security of survivors.

The issue of walk-in sex was raised at the domestic violence coalition meeting in August after a survivor of a criminal-level intimate partner violence incident waited more than four hours in the building of 200 S. Third St. to file a report.

Yakima Police Lt. Chad Janis said the wait time was a result of responding to calls and the flow of cases. Officers are not stationed at the police department to take walk-in reports. Reports of domestic violence should be collected by uniformed officers, not civilian personnel, so victims must wait for an officer to arrive.

“Sometimes, depending on what’s happening on the ground and our current workforce, wait times can be significant, as we saw in the example of the coalition meeting,” Janis said. “It’s important to have a better way to reassure our victims that when they come to the police department, it’s a safe place.”

Since the last coalition meeting, Janis and the YWCA Victims of Crime Advocate have trained staff on victim safety measures.

As part of the new process, civilian workers working at the counter will direct the reporter to a quiet, safe space, connect them with a community advocate, and gather information for a lethality assessment while awaiting the arrival of the reporter. an officer, Janis said. The changes come into effect on September 6.

How it works

Janis said the new process is simple and focused on victim safety.

When someone approaches the counter to report an incident of domestic violence, staff members first ask if the abuser is nearby, assessing whether they were able to follow the victim to the parking lot or into the lobby .

“The first priority is getting the victim to safety, getting them to a secure area in the police department and out of the lobby,” Janis said.

The next step is to meet basic needs.

“The three things you need to offer the person going through the traumatic event (are) safety, shelter, and possibly food,” Janis said.

Once these needs have been met and the victim is in a safe and more comfortable location, staff members will connect the victim with a DV advocate and complete the lethality assessment.

This assessment includes 14 yes-or-no questions that help police determine levels of safety or danger and connect victims to support services. Civilian personnel have been trained to complete the assessment, which is also completed by first responders who are called into an active incident.

During the walk-in process, an incident and case number is created with call details that an agent can answer when available. Responses to the lethality assessment are forwarded to the service provider or advocate and response officer.

Janis said someone will always stay with the victim until the attorney or officer arrives so she is not left alone in an unknown location.

“It’s really important when someone asks for help that they feel safe, that they are taken to a safe place and that they are connected to the appropriate services within the community who can help. help in whatever he’s going through,” Janis said.

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