Lt. Governor Brown Announces Domestic Violence Program Adopted by Prince George's Law Enforcement
All 30 local law enforcement agencies in the county will adopt use of Lethality Assessment Program to protect victims of domestic violence
HYATTSVILLE, Md. (October 23, 2012) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today joined Congresswoman Donna Edwards, state and local officials and representatives from law enforcement and domestic violence victims’ advocacy groups to announce that all 30 local law enforcement agencies in Prince George’s County will adopt use of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s nationally recognized Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) in an effort to protect and assist victims of domestic violence. The program will be implemented in coordination with the Family Crisis Center Inc. of Prince George’s county, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) and the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV).
“By bringing together all 30 County, Sheriff, and Municipal police departments to implement the Lethality Assessment Program, we’re making Prince George’s County, and our state, a safer place to live,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Since 2006 we’ve driven down violent crime in Maryland by 25%. And today, our police officers, counselors, health care workers, victim’s advocates, and state agencies stand united as we work toward a violence-free Maryland.”
The Lethality Assessment Program—Maryland Model (LAP) integrates an evidence–based screening instrument with an accompanying protocol to identify those victims of intimate partner domestic violence that are at the greatest risk of being killed, at the scene of a call for service, and to connect them immediately to the local domestic violence program. Research shows that putting victims in touch with services as soon as possible can reduce domestic violence related homicides, serious assaults and repeat victimization. The goal of the LAP is to prevent domestic violence homicides, serious injury, and re-assault by encouraging more victims to utilize the support and shelter services of domestic violence programs.
To implement the LAP in Prince George’s County, GOCCP will award $217,650 in grant funds. In total, GOCCP has awarded over $1.1 million in federal and state grants to implement LAP across the state.
“In Prince George’s County, we are committed to preventing domestic violence and protecting people who are victims of this abuse. Domestic violence destroys families and communities,” said County Executive Baker. “With the help and cooperation of dedicated partnerships such as the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV), and their Lethality Assessment Program, I am confident that we will decrease incidents of domestic violence in our communities.”
The LAP represents an opportunity born from three bodies of research by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, spanning 25 years. It is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the United States, was created in Maryland, and has won national recognition.
“The adoption of the Lethality Assessment Program will make families, communities, and victims of domestic violence safer. It is also a testament to the great work we can accomplish when advocates and various levels of government unite under one common goal: ending domestic violence,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let’s continue working together to improve the lives of those experiencing domestic violence."
“LAP was a model developed here in Maryland, so it makes sense that we lead the nation in fully utilizing this tool to aid domestic violence victims in each Maryland county,” said GOCCP Executive Director Tammy Brown. “GOCCP is delighted to be spearheading the full implementation of this nationally recognized program in Prince George’s County and throughout the state.”
Through the collaboration of MNADV and GOCCP, the LAP initiative in Prince George's County recruited and will train all the agencies to implement the LAP county-wide by the beginning of 2013. More than 2,000 officers from 30 law enforcement agencies in the County will receive specialized training. These agencies include:
Prince George’s County Police Department
Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office
All 24 of the municipal police departments in the County
Maryland Capital Park Police of Prince George’s County
University of Maryland Police Department
Bowie University Police Department
Prince George’s Community College Police Department
“There are many highly qualified and dedicated professionals in the field of law enforcement, advocacy, and crisis intervention working together as a team on this project. In light of all this hard work I expect it to be highly successful and anticipate a reduction in intimate partner - domestic violence homicides,” said Edmonston Police Department Chief Stephen Walker. “I look forward to a continued partnership with these agencies on this and other projects.”
“We have already seen tremendous success with the LAP program across the state and I know that brining this program to Prince George’s County is going to save lives,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks. “As leaders in our community, we have a responsibility to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves and this will be another tool to help us ensure the safety of all those we are privileged to serve.”
The LAP is a two-pronged intervention process that features a research-based lethality screening tool and accompanying protocol referral that provides direction for law enforcement, medical personnel, clergy, social workers and others to initiate appropriate action based on the results of the screening process.
“The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence is delighted to be working with the thirty law enforcement agencies in Prince George’s County in implementing the life-saving Lethality Assessment Program on behalf of victims of domestic violence,” said Michaele Cohen, Executive Director of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. “With this pledge of commitment in Prince George’s County, Maryland is at 100 percent law enforcement participation.”
"The full implementation of The Lethality Assessment Program in Prince George’s County will ensure better coordination of services to the women and children that are affected by Domestic violence. It will also mean quicker and timelier services will be provided to the victims most in need of those services,” said Malinda Miles, Executive Director of the Family Crisis Center.
Currently, 88 police departments in Maryland use lethality assessments, including the Baltimore Police Department. The ultimate goal is to implement lethality assessments statewide.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Combating domestic violence is a personal cause for Lt. Governor Brown. In August 2008, his cousin Cathy was senselessly murdered by her estranged boyfriend. Building on his experience as a legislator and the perspective provided by this tragedy, Lt. Governor Brown has championed reforms to combat domestic violence. Earlier this month, Lt. Governor Brown announced two new laws taking effect to protect and assist victims of domestic violence in Maryland. Under one new law, Marylanders who are forced to leave their employment to escape the threat of domestic violence will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. A second new law requires judges to report whether or not defendants are found to have had a “domestically-related relationship” with their victims.
Lt. Governor Brown championed successful efforts in 2009 to improve domestic violence laws by giving judges the authority to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. During the 2010 Legislative Session, Brown worked with members of the General Assembly, domestic violence advocates and stakeholders to pass legislation allowing a victim of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease with a copy of a final protective order.
This week, Lt. Governor Brown is participating in a series of event with County Executive Baker and County officials to focus on issues important to Prince George’s County. In addition to today’s event, yesterday the Lt. Governor and County Executive Baker convened a meeting to discuss the County Executive's Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative. On Thursday, Lt. Governor Brown will join County Executive Baker at an economic development event hosted by the Purple Rail Alliance, which is working to support construction of the Purple Line.