Women’s Center thanks police | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Women’s Center thanks police

Gregory Crofton

South Lake Tahoe Police get about eight calls every 24 hours related to domestic violence.

Now more than ever before police and other South Shore law enforcement agencies arrest people involved with the crime.

South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center recently took a time-out for Law Enforcement Appreciation Week and thanked officers at all South Shore agencies for the dedication they have to their work.

“Treatment starts with an arrest. They are held accountable,” said Lois Denowitz, community educator at South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center. “There is a belief system that this is private. The law says it’s not.”

Domestic violence calls are perilous and that makes Denowitz even more appreciative of an officer’s job.

An old trend in handling domestic violence calls was separating the aggressor and victim. These days, officers are booking more violent abusers. They also follow an initial report with a thorough investigation.

“Now we document it,” said Officer Chuck Owens, South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s domestic violence investigator. “The DA wants to see if there is a pattern of behavior.”

First-time offenders often are ordered to participate in counseling. If a pattern continues, punishment gets worse for a good reason.

Owens said with each repeat domestic violence call at a home, chance of injury to an officer and a victim exponentially increases.

When Owens follows up on a report, his goal is to expand on core facts the reporting officer gathered. Sometimes the job requires patience because of a language barrier. But he said it’s essential to let a victim know domestic violence is illegal and that police can help.

“The difficulty is communicating, getting that point over,” Owens said. “In other countries it may be permissible to beat women. They come into California and do it and a lot of the time it’s not known it’s not all right to do.”

Owens is one course away from being classified a domestic violence specialist. He recently completed three weeks of special training in Southern California.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Week is May 14 to May 20 in California. Legislation to create the week honoring law enforcement passed February 2000.

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