Minneapolis Police implement new program to combat domestic violence

As we write in this week's issue, domestic abuse services across the state are weathering a perfect storm-- not only are they seeing their budgets gutted, there's ample evidence that domestic violence is on the rise (which corraborates, at least to an extent, the old financial-duress-exaserbates-domestic-abuse axiom).

In a related story, the Minneapolis Police Department unveiled a new domestic violence program last week aimed at increasing the convition rate of domestic abusers. The initiative is as intuitive as it is simple: officers called to misdeamenor-level domestic disturbances will do more info-gathering on the front end (snapping photos, collecting evidence, jotting down witness/defendant/vicitm statements, etc.) than before.

The decision to implement the new was made after a pilot program, launched in the Fifth Precinct in February 2008, proved successful.

"This drastically improves the success of prosecution," says MPD Sgt. William Palmer. "During the pilot program, conviction rates jumped from 54 percent to 76 percent."

The program is already in effect in the Third Precinct (in addition to the Fifth), and will be phased in to all five MPLS precincts over the course of the year.

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