Cops Say Domestic Disturbance Calls Are Unpredictable, Dangerous
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says officers have to be on high-alert when they receive a call for domestic disturbance. The main reason is the unpredictable nature of the call.
"The only reason we're going there is that there is some sort of violence, whether it be a verbal argument or a physical argument," Furlong said. "So, we're walking into a violent scenario to begin with."
Furlong says alcohol is a common factor in the escalation of domestic issues, and that can produce even more danger.
"When we see officers getting hurt in domestic violence calls, most often, the offender is under the influence of alcohol," Furlong said.
Deputy Bob Motamenpour has been with the the Carson City Sheriff's Office for 20 years. He has seen the dangers of domestic incidents during that time.
"We're walking into a situation that we don't know what these people have done," Motamenpour said. "We don't know anything about their lives. We don't know anything about the dynamics. We don't know the kind of weapons, where they have them hidden in their house."
Motamenpour says officers have to have heightened awareness when they head to a domestic disturbance. Their job is to ease the tension between the possible offender and victim. That has many challenges, though.
"We don't have a crystal ball," Motamenpour said. "We can't solve people's problems that have been brewing for years, in a ten minute call and a visit to their house."
The Violence Policy Center reports that, in Nevada, the number of females murdered by males ranks fifth in the country. 92 percent of them knew their assailant. Furlong says Nevada's ranking could be a result of the Silver State's unique characteristics.
"You can look at the addictions, gambling addictions, alcohol addictions and the realization that folks are out there 24 hours a day," Furlong said.
Furlong says domestic disturbance calls can be even more unpredictable if it is a third party that calls. Law enforcement has more tools at their disposals when the call comes from the victim. No matter who calls or what the reason is, these scenarios are not taken lightly.
"We're basically walking in like a stranger, in their homes and we've got to sharpen all of our skills and all of our senses," Motamenpour said.
Financial problems can also lead to domestic issues. Furlong says it is common for domestic disturbance calls to spike around the beginning of the month, when bills are due. Furlong says men are usually the aggressors in these situations but says women can be just as violent. Oftentimes, officers have to determine who the aggressor is and who the victim is.