As part of Police Week, we observe May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. On this day we take a moment to honor all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and thank them for their service and sacrifice. Flags across the country will fly at half-mast in memory of those who paid the ultimate price to secure our life and liberties.
Everyone at OVW would like to recognize our men and women in uniform whose work is essential in safeguarding our communities and ensuring justice for victims. According to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, domestic violence calls are among the most dangerous for law enforcement officers. We know that officers put their lives on the line to keep others safe, and without their efforts on the front lines we could not succeed in combating domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
As an eight year veteran prosecutor of the Family Violence Unit of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, I saw firsthand the dangers associated with responding to domestic violence calls. As a young prosecutor, I remember my first ride along and the call to a home for domestic violence which had tragically ended in a shotgun blast to the victims face—and the sergeant I was riding with telling me of the danger involved in responding to domestic violence calls. Through my years as a prosecutor I would frequently find myself at domestic violence homicide scenes, on search warrants, the coroner’s office and interviewing victims. I was constantly in awe of care and concern that was shown to the victims of violence and the amazing investigatory job the street officers, investigators and homicide teams had performed to investigate a case and prepare it for submission to the district attorney’s office.
It is through this coordination among justice system professionals and victim service providers—and with many other leaders working to make their communities safer and more just—that we can advance our shared goal of ending violence. President Trump released a Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week Proclamation highlighting critical initiatives underway in the Department of Justice, as well as the Administration’s investment of over $50 million in effective crime prevention strategies such as Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN supports partnerships among U.S. Attorney offices, local law enforcement, and the communities they serve so they can implement comprehensive approaches to reducing crime.
Likewise, OVW supports coordinated community responses that involve law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and victim services working together to meet victims with competence and compassion every step of the way. Our grant funds support nearly 300 law enforcement officers’ salaries at any given time, and grants also give officers access to training and resources to help them do their jobs most effectively. For example, OVW is currently updating a virtual practicum that provides interactive training for justice and healthcare professionals in a “virtual sexual assault forensic facility.” Training modules will cover all aspects of the sexual assault medical forensic examination—from interviewing the survivor through courtroom testimony—with master practitioners and trainers guiding the way.
OVW technical assistance providers also offer trainings, toolkits, and other resources to assist law enforcement. Recent resources can be found at: https://ojp.gov/policeweek/resources.htm. Upcoming OVW-funded trainings and webinars are posted at: www.TA2TA.org
We encourage all members of the law enforcement community to take advantage of OVW's resources, apply for grants, attend trainings, and contact us with any questions. Visit: https://www.justice.gov/ovw or follow us on Twitter: @OVWJustice.
We owe our law enforcement officers, and their families, our gratitude and unending support. Thank a law enforcement officer today!