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Jefferson County, Kentucky, Arrest Policies Project: A Process Evaluation on Site August 1999

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
22 pages
This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Arrest Program in Jefferson County, KY, a Federal grant program intended to encourage jurisdictions to implement mandatory or pro-arrest policies as an effective domestic-violence intervention that is part of a coordinated community response.
The Jefferson County Office for Women was established in 1991 and helped to establish the Jefferson County Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinating Council (DVPCC) in January 1996. A subcommittee of the DVPCC, a Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) arranged for a needs assessment to be conducted in the county to identify what was needed to better combat domestic violence. The Jefferson County Police Department conducted the assessment. The project proposal was developed from the findings of the needs assessment. The overall goal for the Arrest Policies Program is "to employ a coordinated and integrated response to domestic violence that emphasizes victim safety and offender accountability." Two objectives in the pursuit of this goal are to enhance the activities of the DVPCC in order to increase victim safety and offender accountability throughout the county and to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of domestic-violence arrest policies when combined with a comprehensive coordinated response at the community level. The Center for Women and Families (CWF) is the nonprofit partner in the Arrest Project. CWF's mission is to empower, heal, enrich, and advocate for women and families. There are three response teams assigned to the four districts in the county. The DVU has been hampered with high turnover of advocates. Some members of the DVU have sensed a power struggle between the police department and its nonprofit partner. At times there is confusion over who supervises the advocates, since they report to the DVU daily. Some officers perceive that the computer aided dispatch system operators need clarification about what constitutes a domestic-violence call. Overall, however, the county is by far one of the most progressive jurisdictions in addressing the problem of domestic violence, such that the program can serve as a model for other jurisdictions that are attempting to achieve interagency and community collaboration. Still, there are improvements that can be made in clarifying the boundaries for the supervision of advocates and in upgrading advocates' salaries, revising criteria for an initial response to domestic calls so as to encompass less severe offenses, and increasing the supervision of the DVU teams.

Date Published: February 1, 2000