More than 80 officers representing every law enforcement agency in Milwaukee County have been trained recently to use a new tool to better assess domestic violence situations and determine which victims are at greatest risk for a deadly encounter, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The centerpiece of the training was a simple form containing 11 questions front-line officers should ask victims. The questions are designed to elicit information ranging from an abuser’s prior use of weapons and availability of guns to past instances of choking and threats to life.
The stakes are high for both domestic violence victims and law enforcement. On average, about one person a week dies as a result of domestic violence in Wisconsin. The training grew out of a renewed focus on domestic violence as a result of a mass shooting in Brookfield, Wis., in October 2012, officials said. Radcliffe Haughton shot seven women at a spa, killing three, including his wife, Zina, who worked there. He then committed suicide. Police had been called to the Haughtons’ home two dozen times in 11 years, never making an arrest. At least seven calls were to investigate domestic violence.