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Old Cell Phones Can Be Lifeline For Domestic Violence Victims

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Sheriff's deputies in Cumberland County are collecting old cell phones to help victims of domestic violence. One woman says the phones are tools that could be the difference between life and death.

Debbie Greene, a financial assistant at the sheriff's department, says something came across her desk recently that brought back memories and prompted her to get involved.

"Having been in the situation myself, I realized there was a need out there," Greene says.

Greene wanted to reach out and touch someone and is getting that chance with the "Call To Protect" program. She is collecting old cell phones that will end up in the hands of domestic violence victims -- a tool she thinks would have helped her when she was in a violent marriage.

"I could have picked it up and called before I talked myself out of it," Greene says.

The program is part of a national effort to help protect victims. It was initiated by thestate Senate.

"We've amended laws and done a number of things to help the judicial process, but this gives help in a personal sense," says Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland County.

Once the phones are collected,The Wireless Foundationwill rewire the phones to dial 911 and a domestic violence shelter -- a lifeline for a victim who is being stalked or in need of immediate help.

"It will give them the edge over people creating problems for them," says Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler.

Currently, 72 sheriff's offices across the state are participating in the "Call to Protect" program.

In Cumberland County, people interested in donating phones can drop them off at the lobby of the sheriff's department. For those physically unable to bring the phones, deputies are offering to come pick up the phones.