COLUMBIA, S.C. (News Release) Violence Task Force today announced that 45 South Carolina sheriffs have pledged to adopt an initiative that will improve officer response and create a baseline standard of uniformity statewide for domestic violence crimes by the end of the year.
Recognizing that law enforcement plays a critical role in the lives of domestic violence victims, each sheriff’s office will implement an internal policy specifically for domestic violence aimed at ensuring victim safety, offender accountability, and officer safety and accountability.
“What I’m proud to say is that every one of these sheriffs standing behind me said, not only will we do this — but they agreed to do it together,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We’re going to partner with these sheriffs and I want to thank them for their investment and their commitment to the citizens they protect. The most important point that comes out of this press conference is the sheriffs here and the sheriffs representing these counties will have the backs of the survivors.”
At a minimum, the internal policy will include five standards, which were identified by the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force as being critical to law enforcement response to domestic violence:
- Requiring officers to file incident reports on every domestic violence call;
- Mandating supervisory review of all domestic violence incident reports;
- Designating an individual to obtain copies of orders of protection from family court;
- Requiring officers to conduct a wanted check at the scene of a domestic violence call;
- Providing officers with a one-page reference guide, including key points of law and a basic checklist for a general lethality assessment.
Each sheriff’s office will also conduct a needs assessment for responding to and investigating domestic violence incidents for the purpose of developing a plan to obtain resources and improve services. The needs assessment will lay the foundation for the governor’s law enforcement domestic violence initiatives in 2017 and 2018, continuing implementation of best practices proposed by the Domestic Violence Task Force.