By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
Local court, law enforcement and other agencies that deal with domestic violence in Madison County are exploring the use of a database to track trends, perpetrators and other information related to the abuse of intimate partners.
Ken Jensen with Software Masters Inc. presented information about the web-based database Friday morning at a meeting of the Coordinated Response Team. The team is made up of liaisons from the Richmond and Berea police departments, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, 911 dispatch, the county attorney’s office, family and district court judges, Madison County Detention Center and pretrial services.
Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Program coordinates the team with the help of a $400,000 federal grant from the Office of Violence Against Women. The grant allowed the RPD to hire an officer last year who specializes in domestic violence issues.
Various agencies will be able to input information about each case into the database, Jensen said.
“The focus of this is to really help our victims,” he said.
Only people with authorization will be able to use the system, which will have three levels of security. Pertinent information about the incidents, victims, perpetrators and activity in court will be entered into the system by workers with the different agencies. This will allow the tracking of people and other trends through several incidents.
Jensen said he will meet with each of the stakeholders – law enforcement, court workers, victim advocates and others – to work on tailoring the system to their needs.
He said the program should be able to launch in five or six weeks.
RPD Chief Larry Brock told the group this was a “good opportunity” to work with a local business to customize a database that will help law enforcement reduce domestic violence in the community.
Also at the meeting, Kristie Blevins and Betsey Matthews worked with team members on domestic violence policy review and analysis assessments.
The two are professors in the Eastern Kentucky University School of Justice Studies.
The questionnaires they handed out will help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of the agencies involved with domestic violence crimes. The professors are relying on a best practices guide established by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit.
The assessment will assist in improving on current practices in Madison County and also help agencies pinpoint areas that may need additional funding, possibly through grants.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.