Michiana police officers recognized for preventing domestic violence homicides

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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If you are in a domestic abuse situation or suspect you may be in one, please call 911 or the YWCA hotline at 1-866-YES-YWCA.

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the YWCA North Central Indiana is honoring local police in their efforts to prevent domestic violence homicides.

YWCA President and CEO Susan Tybon, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter, along with local police officials agree that officers’ administering the Danger Assessment Law Enforcement (DALE) screenings to abuse survivors is saving lives.

“If somebody scores high on the DALE, the officers immediately start working to try to get the individual into the YWCA shelter or to hook them up to other services,” explained Tybon.

On Wednesday, the YWCA honored a dozen area officers who’ve helped domestic abuse survivors get help.

“This is our opportunity to say, ‘Thank you,’ not just as the prosecutor but as Ken Cotter for the work that you do and helping us, keep our community safe,” remarked Cotter.

St. Joseph County Police Assistant Chief Garrett Fields said: “I know it’s not easy out there dealing with domestic violence, having to make that decision to do what you have to do when you get there, but like I said, we’re very proud of what they do.”

Dan Gebo, assistant chief of the Mishawaka Police Department, noted the teamwork among local law enforcement.

“We’re all a team here. We’re trying to keep the community safe. Domestic violence is very important to us. Those numbers are staggering. We need to bring those down,” said Gebo.

In 2022 alone, South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said there have been 719 domestic violence cases. He emphasized the importance of people speaking up when they see violence of any kind, particularly domestic violence.

“We need people to - no matter what the incident is, but it’s, especially this - to step up to, when they see something, when they know something, to say something because somebody always knows other than our survivor, and other than our abuser,” said Ruszkowski. “Somebody knows.”

If you are in a domestic abuse situation or suspect you may be in, please call 911 or the YWCA hotline at 1-866-YES-YWCA.