In simulations, Wake emergency responders learn to cool domestic violence
Posted September 11, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Domestic violence has been top of mind on talk shows, sports radio and around the water cooler this week, as the NFL deals with the fallout of a graphic video showing running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee.
The video is stunning, startling and it cost Rice his job, but law enforcement officers who deal with domestic say the tension evident in the couple's heated exchange is all too familiar.
Domestic violence can be among the most volatile and most under-reported crimes. Often, the victims of abuse are scared to get police involved. When they are called, officers must first calm emotions running high and then deal with the possibility that a crime is being committed.
“There’s a lot of unknowns," said instructor Micael Macario. He's teaching Raleigh police officers and other Wake County emergency responders crisis intervention this week at Wake Tech.
"We’re responding inside people’s homes, so it’s a difficult tactical situation to keep them and ourselves safe."
In Macario's course, officers learn how to go beyond the arrest to get everyone involved the help they need.
In one simulation, a man shouts at his wife and an neighbor overhears and calls 911.
Both man and wife are surprised to see the police arrive, and it's up to the police to diffuse a situation high on passion and short on rational thought.
"Our advice to the officers is to stay calm themselves, stay professional, and just keep trying to get through to them the best way they can," Macario said.
Macario teaches officers what questions to ask and how to be better listeners.
“They will take control of the situation as best they can, and they will listen," he said. "We’ll listen to both parties. They’ll try to get you to take their side. We can’t do that.”
Officers also learn to look for signs of mental illness or post-traumatic stress syndrome. Instead of just making an arrest and being done with it, police are being trained to direct the offender to counseling.
Police officer Michael Curci said the training makes him a much better responder.
“For you to move forward in a healthy relationship, I need to be able to provide you with information you didn’t previously have," Curci said.
eNOugh domestic violence: eNOughNC
WRAL and our parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Company, are partners in an effort to prevent and end domestic violence called eNOughNC. On eNOughNC.com, victims and batterers can find resources to break the cycle of violence, and members of the community can find ways to help.