Huntsville police Domestic Violence Responder Program helps victims from the moment they call 911

Huntsville police lead the nation when it comes to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

Posted: Sep 24, 2019 6:06 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2019 3:12 AM

Domestic violence tears apart families and communities.

Breaking the cycle is far from easy, but the Huntsville Police Department created a unique partnership to help start the healing process. They're leading the nation in helping domestic violence victims.

For the last 21 years, Huntsville Police have partnered with Crisis Services of North Alabama to help break the cycle, one call at a time.

"You see things. Things that we have seen (that are) maybe seen in a movie, we've actually seen in person and it's devastating," said Domestic Violence Responder Bobbie Conner, "We are assigned at the precinct during roll call. You get your officer and we go everywhere they go."

Her job is to ride with officers like Leah Henry, serving as a victim's advocate on the front lines.

"A lot of times they'd rather talk to us than the officer, because we're not wearing a uniform," explained Conner.

"They have our backs and I have their back(s) and we just we do what we do," said Huntsville Police Officer Leah Henry.

Working hand-in-hand to educate those in need, Domestic Violence Responders connect victims to the resources available to end the abuse.

"We're not there to tell them what to do," said Conner. "We're there to give them options and (let them know) help is out there, and explain how domestic violence works."

"I would say we can go on one house call, to the same house maybe seven times before that person will actually make a move and do something," she continued.

"This doesn't have to affect them for the rest of their lives," said Henry.

The bonds forged between DV Responders and officers run deeper than just responses to calls.

"With them sitting right there in my seat, I can just chat with them and debrief and it's really awesome," said Henry.

"(It) speaks volumes for HPD that they are willing to go the extra mile because there's no one that we know that does this," said Conner.

Huntsville police is one of the only departments in the country to offer this service. A small team of 15 volunteer their time to serve their community. Riding shotgun, they work second and third shifts Fridays through Mondays.

"These people go out every weekend, they do not wear a vest, they ride in police cars in the most dangerous situations and they are willing to do whatever it takes to help somebody get the help they need," explained Joleen Heckman, with Crisis Services of North Alabama.

"Unfortunately we'll never be able to cover all the calls," she continued, "Calls are hundreds a month, thousands a year."

So what can the community do to help support their efforts?

"Supporting victims of domestic violence," Heckman said, "Believing them, listening to them, making sure that they're getting that power back, because a lot of domestic violence has power and control and that's what we're teaching is letting them know they have choices."

"We don't take it lightly you know that nobody should be putting their hands on anybody else took over control over anything," said Huntsville PD Investigator Daphne Treece.

Treece has witnessed first-hand how influential the trained responders can be when it comes to getting information they need to hold the abusers accountable.

"(To have) somebody in their corner, trying to give them back their confidence it is very important," she said.

More than just a booklet with contact numbers, this unique partnership allows HPD to tailor their response to meet the individual needs of the community.

"People respond to face-to-face rather than like oh here is this number," said Henry.

"My goal when we get there is if I can leave that victim in a better place than I found her, then I feel like I've accomplished something."

Crisis Services of North Alabama is always looking for volunteers. If you or someone you know needs help leaving an abusive relationship, help is available 24/7. You can call the hotline 256-716-1000 or 1-800-691-8426 or Huntsville Police.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 89°
Florence
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Fayetteville
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Decatur
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 89°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 57591

Reported Deaths: 710
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12842214
Davidson12549138
Rutherford332638
Hamilton308837
Sumner180256
Williamson159115
Trousdale15055
Knox14719
Out of TN125610
Wilson109917
Putnam9897
Bradley8894
Robertson88213
Sevier8633
Unassigned8372
Lake6970
Tipton6746
Montgomery6587
Bledsoe6251
Bedford5959
Macon5466
Hamblen4224
Maury4203
Hardeman3814
Fayette3463
Madison3402
Loudon3081
Rhea2940
Blount2803
Dyer2743
McMinn25718
Cheatham2522
Dickson2430
Washington2120
Lawrence2026
Cumberland1964
Anderson1782
Sullivan1782
Lauderdale1723
Gibson1581
Jefferson1571
Monroe1466
Smith1392
Coffee1340
Cocke1260
Greene1232
Hardin1207
Obion1182
Haywood1112
Warren1060
Franklin1043
Marshall1042
Wayne990
Hickman980
McNairy911
Marion904
Giles801
Lincoln800
White803
Hawkins792
Carter771
DeKalb760
Roane750
Weakley691
Overton681
Campbell651
Grundy652
Henderson620
Claiborne610
Unicoi560
Chester530
Carroll511
Polk510
Grainger500
Crockett483
Henry480
Cannon450
Johnson440
Sequatchie430
Jackson410
Humphreys382
Meigs350
Perry350
Morgan291
Decatur280
Stewart260
Fentress250
Scott220
Union200
Houston190
Clay180
Moore170
Benton151
Hancock100
Lewis100
Pickett70
Van Buren70

 

 

Community Events