E.P.P. 9 Domestic Violence

I.             PURPOSE

 

It is the intent of this policy to prescribe courses of action which members and employees of the Longwood Police Department shall take in response to domestic violence incidents that will enforce the law while serving to intervene and help prevent future incidents of violence.

 

II.            POLICY:

 

                It shall be the policy of the Longwood Police Department to:

 

·         Reduce the incidence and severity of domestic violence;

 

·         Protect victims of domestic violence and provide them with support through a combination of law enforcement response           and victim support services;

 

·         Promote officer safety by ensuring that officers are fully prepared to respond to and effectively deal with domestic violence       calls for service; and

 

·         Protect citizens from the tragedy of domestic violence through a “preferred arrest” response where probable cause exists           for an arrestable offense.

 

III.           DISCUSSION:

 

It is the public policy of this State to strongly discourage arrest and charging of both parties for domestic violence. In cases where two or more persons make complaints regarding an act of domestic violence, the officer shall try to determine who was the primary aggressor. Arrest is the preferred response in domestic violence incidents, only with respect to the primary aggressor. Arrest is not a preferred response with respect to a person who, although is involved in an incident of domestic violence, acted in a reasonable manner to protect or defend themselves or another family or household member from domestic violence.

 

IV.          DEFINITIONS:

 

A.            Domestic Violence - any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking,       aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one         family or household member by another, who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.

 

B.            Family or Household Member - spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are                   presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if family, and persons who have a         child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.

 

C.            Preferred Arrest - the preferred resolution to the problem when probable cause exists that indicates an act of domestic        violence has been committed.

 

V.            PROCEDURE:

 

                A.            INITIAL RESPONSE AND ENTRY TO THE SCENE

 

1.            A domestic violence call is considered to be one of the most dangerous calls a law enforcement officer may               confront. Therefore, officer safety is of primary concern.  Since an emergency response may be required, members will adhere to established directives regarding police vehicle operations in emergency response mode.

 

2.            A domestic violence call shall require a primary and secondary unit response.

 

3.            Entry to the scene shall be handled cautiously. Visually observe combatants and assess the circumstances.

 

4.            Officers on-scene, investigating incidents of domestic violence shall make an initial assessment to include:

 

                                                a.            Actual or potential weapons involved;

 

                                                b.            Safe separation of combatants;

 

                                                c.             Safety of children/elderly or other third parties; 

 

                                                d.            Need for medical treatmentResponding officers shall assist the injured in obtaining any necessary                 medical treatment.

 

                                                e.            Determination of the primary aggressor.

 

VI.          DETERMINING AND IDENTIFYING THE AGGRESSOR:

Whenever an officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed within the officer’s jurisdiction, the officer should arrest the person(s) suspected of its commission and subsequently charge the person(s) with the appropriate crime. When investigating incidents of domestic violence and complaints are received from two or more parties, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether probable cause exists to make an arrest. The officer shall attempt to determine who is the primary aggressor. Arrest is the preferred response only with respect to the primary aggressor and not with respect to a person who acts only to protect or defend themselves or others.

 

VII.         ARREST:

A.            Officers investigating incidents of domestic violence shall determine if an arrestable offense has been committed and if          arrest is the most appropriate course of action.

 

B.            An officer may arrest a person for domestic violence without a warrant when there is probable cause to believe that the       person has knowingly committed an act of domestic violence and the officer reasonably believes that there is danger of   future violence unless the person alleged to have committed the domestic violence is arrested without delay.

 

C.            The existence of the elements of a crime shall be the primary factor in determining the proper method of handling the         incident. Other factors that should be considered when determining the appropriate method of handling the situation     would include:

 

                                1.            Weapons;

 

                                2.            Prior incidences of violence;

 

                                3.            Criminal history of suspect; and

 

                                4.            Potential harm to victim and others.

 

 

NOTE:   Dispute mediation shall not be used as a substitute for appropriate criminal proceedings in situations where physical violence or the threat of violence has occurred.

 

D.            The decision to arrest or charge shall not require the consent of the victim or the consideration of the relationship of the      parties involved.

 

E.            No law enforcement officer shall be held liable, pursuant to F.S. 901.15, for a domestic violence arrest based on probable     cause.

 

F.            During an investigation of domestic violence, the following factors shall not deter an officer from making an appropriate       arrest:

 

                                1.            Insistence/pleading by victim for no arrest;

 

                                2.            Whether the suspect lives on the premises with the victim or not;

 

                                3.            Victim’s present marital status;

 

                                4.            Absence of a court-ordered injunction for protection;

 

                                5.            The potential financial consequences of arrest;

 

                                6.            The victim’s history of prior complaints;

 

                                7.            Verbal assurances that the violence will cease;

 

                                8.            The victim’s emotional state;

 

    9.            The absence of visible injuries even though injuries are reported (i.e., internal injuries, soft tissue injuries);

 

                                10.          Speculation that arrest may not lead to a conviction;

 

    11.          Speculation that the victim may not follow through with the criminal justice process;

 

                                12.          Location of the incident (i.e., private property).

 

VIII.        DOCUMENTATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

 

A.            In all cases of domestic violence or alleged domestic violence, whether or not an arrest is made, the officer shall make a        written report of the incident to include:

 

                                1.            A description of physical injuries observed;

                                

   2.            Specific reasons for no arrest being made;

 

                                3.            Specific reasons why arrest(s) were made;

 

                                4.            Verification that the Legal Rights/Remedies Notice was provided;

 

                                5.            If possible, written statement(s) from victim(s) and any witnesses; and

 

    6.            If appropriate, a description of physical evidence observed and collected (i.e., photographs, anatomy charts,              weapons).

 

    7.            The names and ages of all children present at the scene during the time of the domestic violence and each                 child’s relationship with the victim and the perpetrator. If a crime of domestic violence is committed in the                presence of a child under 16 years of age, who is a household or family member with the victim or perpetrator,        the penalty may be enhanced.

 

   8.            Provide mandatory Victim’s Notice of Appointment with State Attorney Office indicating date and time for                   follow-up investigation with State Attorney Office Domestic Violence Division.

 

B.            Per F.S.S. 741.29 (2) (c), Longwood Police Department shall send a copy of the initial domestic violence police report, as       well as any subsequent, supplemental, or related report, which excludes victim / witness statements or other materials    that are part of an active criminal investigation and are exempt from disclosure under Chapter 119 of Florida State Statutes, to Safe House of Seminole within 24 hours of completion of the initial report.  The report must include a narrative description of the incident.

 

1.            Records Section will be responsible for faxing the domestic violence report to Safe House of Seminole when                submitted Sunday through Thursday.

 

2.            If the domestic violence report is completed Friday through Saturday or any holiday occurring on a work weekday,    the officer completing the report shall be responsible for faxing the required report to Safe House of Seminole.

                

NOTE:   If the report involves a sexual battery, child abuse, or lewd, lascivious or indecent assault upon or in the presence of a child, the identity of the victim must be excised from the report.  In addition, if required by juvenile confidentiality laws, the identity of a juvenile, who is alleged to have committed a criminal act, must not be included in the report, unless the juvenile is charged with a felony.     F.S.S. 119.071 (2) (j) 1 provides that a domestic violence victim may file a written request to have their home and work address, and phone numbers exempt from public disclosure.

 

3.            Officers and Records Section personnel shall ensure all appropriate information contained in the domestic violence report is redacted as required by Florida State Statute, prior to faxing the report to Safe House of Seminole.   The Safe House of Seminole fax number is stored in the fax machine at the Longwood Police Department.

 

4.            Upon completion of faxing the domestic violence report to Safe House of Seminole, the fax cover sheet, along with a copy of the faxed report (with information redacted) and the fax verification receipt shall be submitted with the original report and filed in Records Section.

 

IX.           VICTIMS RIGHTS:

 

Officers investigating incidents of domestic violence shall ensure that the victim receives a copy of the “Legal Rights and Remedies Available for Victims of Domestic Violence” document and resource listings as required by Florida Statute 741.29(1). These rights/remedies and resources are included in the “Victim’s Notice of State Attorney Office Appointment” form.

 

Officers shall provide a “Victims Notice of State Attorney Office Appointment” form in English or Spanish, whichever is deemed appropriate. The officer shall complete the form and schedule a follow-up investigation interview date and time with the State Attorney, utilizing dates and times as set forth in the “State Attorney’s Domestic Violence Appointment Schedule” form. 

 

Officers shall have the victim complete the “State Attorney’s Domestic Violence/Judges Checklist” form. 

 

Officers shall provide a verbal summary and explanation of each item to the victim(s) receiving them.

 

Officers shall inform victims of domestic violence that they may seek shelter at the Safe House of Seminole County.

 

X.            INJUNCTIONS FOR PROTECTION:

 

A.            A person’s right to petition for an injunction for protection shall not be affected by such person having left a residence or household to avoid domestic violence.

 

B.            A member may arrest a person without a warrant when there is probable cause to believe that the person has knowingly committed an act in violation of an injunction for protection entered pursuant to F.S. 741.30 or 784.046, which creates a threat of imminent danger to the victim or household/family members. An arrest may be made over the objection of the petitioner.

 

C.            Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. s. 2265, an injunction for protection against domestic violence issued by a court of a foreign state must be accorded full faith and credit by the courts of this State and enforced by a law enforcement agency as if it were the order of a Florida court issued under F.S.S. 741.30, 741.31, 784.046, or 784.047 and provided that the court had jurisdiction over the parties and the matter, and that reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard was given to the person against whom the order is sought, sufficient to protect that person’s right to due process. Ex parte foreign injunctions for protection are not eligible for enforcement under this section unless notice and opportunity to be heard have been provided within the time required by the foreign state or tribal law, and in any event within a reasonable time after the order is issued, sufficient to protect the respondent’s due process rights. 

 

D.            Upon presentation of a foreign protection order by a protected person, officers shall assist in the enforcement of all its terms, except matters related to child custody, visitation and support. Officers should refer to F.S.S. 741.315 for further direction and information regarding foreign protection orders.

 

XI.           PETITIONS FOR EMERGENCY/TEMPORARY INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION ORDER

 

A.            Petitions for Emergency/Temporary Injunction for Protection Orders should be applied for as follows:

 

                                1.            During Court House Hours:

 

If the incident or request occurs on a non-holiday, weekday (Monday – Friday) between 0800 hours and 1630 hours, officers shall instruct the victim to respond to the following location:

 

                                                                                Seminole County Courthouse

                                                                                Domestic Relations, Room #110

                                                                                301 North Park Avenue

                                                                                Sanford, Florida 32771

                                                                                (407) 665-4330

 

                                2.            Not during Courthouse Hours:

 

An Officer who responds to a domestic violence complaint or complaint of repeat violence, and a petition against domestic or repeat violence is requested between 1630 hours and 0730 hours on a week day, daily during the weekends or any city holiday, shall instruct the complainant to respond to the Longwood Police Department Headquarters.

 

a.            Supervisors shall provide copies of the checklist samples of both domestic violence petitions and repeat        violence petitions to their subordinates.     

 

b.            A Supervisor should respond to the Police Department to assist the Officer with the procedures.

 

c.             If the victim elects to proceed with the petition, the petition form should be completed by the                        complainant.

 

d.            Once the petition is completed, the Officer shall contact the duty judge at the DUTY JUDGE CELLULAR            NUMBER: (407) 782-0903 or by the DUTY JUDGE PAGER NUMBER: (407) 665-9064.

 

e.            When the duty judge responds to the page, the Officer shall inform them of the circumstances, obtain the    judge’s fax number and advise the judge of the following:

              1.            The telephone number where the Officer may be reached; and

2.            A fax number for the judge to send a return document to  the Officer.

 

f.             The Officer will fax the petition to the judge.

g.            If the judge grants the petition, they will fax a signed court 

Order granting the temporary injunction.

 

XII.         SERVING INJUNCTIONS FOR PROTECTION

 

A.            In the event a Longwood Police Officer must serve an emergency injunction for protection or other injunction for                 protection, the following procedures must be strictly adhered to:

 

1.            Service of injunctions for protection may be made on any day of the week and at any time of the      day or night.

 

2.            Longwood Police Officers shall be limited to the service or execution of Domestic Violence                 Injunctions within the geographical jurisdiction of the City of Longwood.  Officers are authorized and empowered to serve or execute other court ordered civil process within the parameters of Administrative Order Number: 02-30-S, issued in the Circuit Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Seminole County, Florida which reads:

 

                                WHEREAS, FLORIDA STATUTE SECTION 741.30 PROVIDES THAT THE SHERIFF OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE RESPONDENT RESIDES OR CAN BE FOUND, SHALL SERVE A COPY OF THE PETITION, FINANCIAL AFFIDAVIT, UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION ACT AFFIDAVIT, IF ANY, NOTICE OF HEARING, AND TEMPORARY INJUNCTION, IF ANY, AND

                                WHEREAS, FLORIDA STATUTE SECTION 741.30 FURTHER PROVIDES THAT IT SHALL BE SERVED AS SOON THEREAFTER AS POSSIBLE ON ANY DAY OF THE WEEK AND AT ANY TIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT; AND

                                WHEREAS, FLORIDA STATUTE SECTION 741.30 PROVIDES THAT THE CHIEF JUDGE OF EACH CIRCUIT, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE APPROPRIATE SHERIFF, MAY AUTHORIZE A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WITHIN THE JURISDICTION TO EFFECT SERVICE; IT IS THEREUPON ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:

                                THAT AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE SEMINOLE COUNTY SHERIFF, THE CHIEF JUDGE HEREBY AUTHORIZES OVIEDO POLICE DEPARTMENT, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAKE MARY POLICE DEPARTMENT, WINTER SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT, CASSELBERRY POLICE DEPARTMENT, LONGWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND ALTAMONTE SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT TO EFFECT SERVICE WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE JURISDICTIONS.

 

3.            Officers are not empowered to use force to serve a Domestic Violence Injunction, or to use force to prevent the recipient from leaving during attempted service, or refusal of service.  In those instances, Officers will note the attempted service in the Incident Report and the intended recipient’s actions in leaving or refusing service.

 

                B.            Service of Injunctions Issued Through the Seminole County Civil Division

 

1.            The Officer shall thoroughly examine the entire injunction document for any and all conditions set    forth by the issuing court.

2.            The Officer shall verify that the injunction, on its face, is a certified copy.

 

3.            The Officer shall verify that, on its face, the injunction is valid and any law enforcement officer           pursuant to their arrest powers may enforce the terms of the injunction as indicated by the issuing   court, and/or F.S.S. 901.15(6), and/or ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NUMBER: 02-30-S.

 

4.            The Officer shall attempt to verify the validity of the injunction, through the Telecommunications     Section, by having the injunction researched through the “Domestic and Repeat Violence           Injunction Statewide Verification System”, if sufficient time has been given for such electronic         entry to be made.

 

5.            The Officer, and if available, an assist officer shall serve the respondent with a certified copy of the injunction as soon as possible on any day of the week and at any time of the day or night.  The Officer shall read the judge’s specific order(s) to the respondent so that they understand the injunction.

 

6.            After serving or attempting to serve the respondent with the injunction, the Officer shall make a      detailed and thorough written report of service or attempt of service made upon the respondent including;

 

a.       date, time served or attempted to serve;

b.      the name of the server;

c.       reason for non-service, if applicable;

d.      method of service;

e.      location where served or attempted to serve;

f.        to whom the process was served or executed; 

g.      any problems or difficulties encountered or associated with the service or attempted             service.

 

7.            Within 24 hours after service of process of an injunction for protection against domestic violence      upon a respondent, the law enforcement officer must forward the written proof of such service of    process to the sheriff with jurisdiction over the residence of the petitioner.              

 

8.            The Officer shall notify the Telecommunications Center by radio or telephone of the date, time and the person on whom the injunction was served.   The Telecommunications Center will enter the information into FCIC and notify the Seminole County Civil Division of the service.

 

9.            The Officer will complete an Emergency Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet and fax the            form to the Telecommunications Center and the Seminole County Civil Division.

 

10.          The Officer shall determine if the injunction was a result of a previous Longwood Police                       Department incident.  If so, the Officer will use the original case number for the incident.  If the     case number originated from another jurisdiction, the Officer will obtain the other agency’s case     number from the Telecommunications Center.

 

11.          The Officer will write the assigned case number in the upper right corner of the Emergency                 Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet.

 

12.          The original Emergency Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet will be submitted with the              Officer’s original Incident Report.

 

13.          The approving supervisor will verify, through the Telecommunication Center, the entry into FCIC. 

 

                C.            Service of Injunctions Issued Via Fax

 

1.            The Officer shall thoroughly examine the entire injunction document for any and all conditions set    forth by the issuing court.

2.            The Officer shall verify that the injunction, on its face is a certified copy.

 

3.            The Officer shall verify that on its face, the injunction is valid and any law enforcement officer            pursuant to their arrest powers may enforce the terms of the injunction as indicated by the                 issuing court and/or F.S.S. 901.15(6), and/or ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NUMBER: 02-30-S.

 

4.            The Officer shall attempt to verify the validity of the injunction, through the Telecommunications      Section, by having the injunction researched through the “Domestic and Repeat Violence                   Injunction Statewide Verification System”, if sufficient time has been given for such electronic           entry to be made.

 

5.            The Officer shall make four (4) copies of the petition and the injunction and write on the document “True Copy” and sign and date under the written “True Copy”.

 

6.            The Officer shall provide one copy of the faxed injunction to the victim (petitioner).

 

7.            The Officer, and if available, an assist officer shall serve the respondent with a certified copy of the injunction as soon as possible on any day of the week and at any time of the day or night.  The Officer shall read the judge’s specific order(s) to the respondent so that they understand the injunction.

 

8.            After serving or attempting to serve the respondent with the injunction, the officer shall make a       detailed and thorough written report of service or attempt of service made upon the respondent including;

 

            a.     date, time served or attempted to serve;

            b.     the name of the server;

            c.       reason for non-service, if applicable;

            d.       method of service;

            e.       location where served or attempted to serve;

            f.         to whom the process was served or executed;

          g.      and any problems or difficulties encountered or associated with the service or attempted        service.

 

9.            Within 24 hours after service of process of an injunction for protection against domestic violence      upon a respondent, the law enforcement officer must forward the written proof of such service of    process to the sheriff with jurisdiction over the residence of the petitioner.              

 

10.          The Officer shall notify the Telecommunications Center by radio or telephone of the date, time          and the person on whom the injunction was served.   The Telecommunications Center will enter       the information into FCIC and notify the Seminole County Civil Division of the service.

 

11.          The Officer will complete an Emergency Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet and fax the            form to the Telecommunications Center and the Seminole County Civil Division.

 

12.          The Officer shall determine if the injunction was a result of a previous Longwood Police                       Department incident.  If so, the Officer will use the original case number for the incident.  If the   case number originated from another jurisdiction, the Officer will obtain the other agency’s case   number from the Telecommunications Center.

 

13.          The Officer will write the assigned case number in the upper right corner of the Emergency                Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet.

 

14.          The original Emergency Injunction for Protection Data Entry Sheet will be submitted with the              Officer’s original Incident Report.

 

15.          The approving supervisor will verify, through the Telecommunication Center, the entry into FCIC. 

 

16.          The Officer may retain the fourth copy for personal records or may discard the copy.

 

17.          If service is not made on the respondent, the victim (petitioner) will retain three (3) copies of the     injunction.  The fourth copy of the injunction shall be marked “UNSERVED” by the Officer.  This          copy will be submitted to the approving supervisor to be forwarded to the Clerk of the Court.  The    Clerk of the Court will then process the injunction and forward it to the Seminole County Civil             Division where further service will be attempted.

 

XIII.   DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES INVOLVING SWORN MEMBERS:

 

A.    Sworn Officers charged in domestic violence incidents including (Assault, Battery, etc.), as a primary aggressor, shall be         suspended from duty pending the completion of an investigation.  The Chief of Police shall determine if the suspension shall   be with or without pay.

 

B.    Officers investigating alleged acts of domestic violence by sworn law enforcement officers  will conduct the investigation of     the incident as they would any other act of domestic violence.  The arrest and documentation requirements of this policy will be applied equally to sworn law enforcement officers.  Any substantiated act of domestic violence will require supervisory notification to the officer’s employing agency.  The chief of police will be notified of the incident through the chain of command, and the division commander will ensure notification of the incident is made to supervisory personnel at the involved officer’s agency.