Are police not taking domestic violence serious enough?

Story came out about a woman who called the police 6 times in the week before she was murdered by her boyfriend, are the police currently taking domestic violence serious enough or should the update how they deal with it.

On October 10, a day after McCluskey broke up with Melvin Rowland after finding out the 37-year-old sex offender had been lying about his age and criminal background, McCluskey’s parents called campus police. Rowland was supposed to return McCluskey’s car, and they were worried he would hurt McCluskey when he did. Campus police did end up escorting McCluskey to the car exchange, which went off without any acts of violence.

But two days later, McCluskey herself started reaching out for help. On October 12, she called campus police for the first time, about disturbing text messages she was receiving from Rowland’s friends, but campus police said they did not rise to the level of harassment. The following day, October 13, she called campus police again, this time with concrete proof of extortion — text messages presumably from Rowland and his friends that threatened to post private pictures of her online if she didn’t pay them money. The campus police said it would take time to review the materials.

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Domestic violence is one of the toughest things for police to deal with for many reasons:

  1. A vast majority of the time its he said / she said with no evidence.

  2. A majority time the violence is mutual with no injuries on both sides and no clear evidence of who started it. And what about cases where one person starts it but loses the fight? Who should be arrested. Good real life example I handled was where it was a heated argument and the guy called the girl the C word to which she slapped him. He retaliated by punching her. IMO both should have been arrested but thats severely frowned on and we are encouraged (aka ordered) to arrest the one who did the most damage. So the guy goes to jail while the woman who made the fight go violent gets off free.

  3. Nearly 95% of the time when you do have evidence to arrest someone the victim will recant and claim the police lied or made things up. Look no further than the Rueben Foster case in the NFL. He was arrested last year and the victim later recanted. The victim now claims she lied during the recantation. He’s since been arrested again but charges are now dropped. Big part of the problem is that she is a liar. You can spin why she lied, she says she lied because she loved him, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is an established liar with zero credibility going forward which makes prosecution without evidence impossible.

  4. Too many women report men for harassing / stalking them one week and then are back with them the next week. I’ve literally taken stalking reports one night and then gone to follow up the next night only to find the woman has made up with the man and they are back living together again and she wants the whole thing dropped. Then a month later she’s screaming “the cops did nothing when I reported him for stalking” after they have broken up again. Or I’ll give you another example I dealt with last year. Girl breaks up with guy. He freaks and is harassing her. She is driving home with a friend and he suddenly pops out of the trunk into the backseat as she arrives home. He knew the keyless passcode to her car so he entered and hid in the trunk to find out who she was out with. He goes nuts and enters her house and won’t let her in. I practically was begging her to press charges for stalking, unlawful entry, or something because of how concerned I was over the behavior but she didn’t want to because “I still love him, I just don’t want him to do this and I don’t want to ruin his life.” We had no victim, we only arrest against victims wishes on domestic battery, so no charges. A few weeks later he did beat her and of course we got the “the cops did nothing when they had the chance.”

  5. So often I’ve seen women get protection orders and then a few days later invite the guy to their home. Then a domestic flares up, we get called, and we find that she invited him there.

The case out of Utah is tragic but its hardly normal as there are all kinds of things about it that are way out of the norm for domestic violence cases (his background being one of them). The norm falls into things like I mentioned above.

If only “domestic” violence calls were so easy. lol

TriggerWarning makes great points about the challenges faced by police in handling these issues.

This specific issue is about the incompetence of a campus police organization.

The report indicates to me that UUPS is undertrained and that the mechanisms in place are brokedick.

Probably. Most campus police departments and many small agencies are extremely limited on funds. So their officers get very little training in anything. And then because they are also low pay with crappy benefits they tend to get officers falliing into one of three categories:

  1. Just starting out in law enforcement and hoping to move up to a bigger agency later. Thus very inexperienced.

  2. Officers who resigned or washed out of a bigger agency for some reason and will take any law enforcement job. The agencies love these officers because they are already trained and are less likely to leave since they washed out elsewhere. Obviously the fact they downgraded in their career path should be concerning since there is obviously a reason why they couldn’t cut it at the bigger agency (though a few do fall victim to politics).

  3. Applicable only to small town officers - its a job in their podunk town which they don’t want to leave so they take it as a job and not because of any innate desire to be a good officer.

Actually I should add a 4th category since I know several officers on my dept who retired and are now part time campus cops at BYU.

  1. Officers who retired from another agency and are looking to supplement their pension. So you get 50 and sixty something year old officers. Which is a very mixed bag as most officers as they near retirement age enter into what is known as being Retired on Duty which means they show up and do as little as possible. So while there may be a wealth of experience there often are no more ***** left to give and they will do the bare minimum at their new job as well. Or they have may decades of admin experience but little street experience - one of the cops from my department hasn’t done patrol work in 30 years (he was admin the whole time) until he went to BYU where he now takes calls again - yeah good luck with that victims given he’s in his 60’s and has no actual experience in the last 30 years doing actual police work.

Re Reuben Foster were charges just dropped against him in Florida? Or is this someone else?

My first job out of college being at a counseling center for offenders and their partners whose situations weren’t yet at a level that qualified them for shelter, I remember one in particular.

This woman was talking to me at the reception desk, wondering could the charges be dropped because “we really can’t afford this.” It took time out of his job, and she was working at a seafood restaurant.

Police, to some, are supposed to help these victims. Yet when they do, she comes forward and says to call it off.

Re getting protective orders and inviting the guy over, an old friend’s wife/mother of his children presses charges against him & gets an Order for Protection—then starts playing games. It got to the point where after one hearing, he asked an on duty police officer to escort him to his car to serve as a witness if she approached him. They got back together but have since divorced.

IMO, in many instances, though not in the one the O P linked, there is some game playing on both sides.