Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 8, 2013

New Directions a huge help to local police

Greensburg Daily News

---- — Dear Editor:

Statistically speaking, we at the Greensburg Police Department receive on average three to four hundred domestic violence related calls a year.

To some that doesn’t seem like a large number, but that number does not include the statistics from any of the other Law Enforcement agencies in Decatur County.

You must also realize that law enforcement generally only get the most violent cases. For example, a 911 call comes into the Dispatch Center from a neighbor who hears screaming and/or banging around in the apartment next door, and they report that they believe someone is being beaten; or a 911 call comes in from a young child that is terrified because “Daddy is hitting or choking Mommy.”

Law enforcement doesn’t typically get calls from victims asking for assistance unless they are in immediate danger. The victims know if law enforcement is called, they are probably going to get treated (physically, mentally, or emotionally) much worse after our officers leave.

That is where New Directions comes in. The victim is more apt to contact them directly for assistance rather than get law enforcement involved. With the tools and resources New Directions has, they are able to provide that assistance.

Before Diane Moore took over as executive director, the primary function for New Directions was sheltering victims of domestic violence. For whatever reason, there was little or no focus placed on outreach and non-residential services from New Directions at that time. When she took her position more than two years ago, she and her staff quickly realized the sheltering part of the program was only a small portion of the many requests for services they were receiving from victims of domestic violence (often a portion of the calls that law enforcement received that needed immediate attention).

They saw these many other requests for assistance needed to be met. Diane and her staff have since greatly expanded the non-residential services provided by New Directions, and there has been a dramatic increase in requests from victims for these services.

We at the Greensburg Police Department have now developed a great partnership with New Directions. We can call any time and receive an immediate response whether it is for sheltering a victim or for any of the other many services they provide.

Having this resource here in Decatur County, we can refer the victims to New Directions and not have to spend the man-hours it takes to assist a victim in getting a protective order, for example. As most Law Enforcement Agencies in Indiana, we have increased call volume without an increase in personnel. Knowing the staff at New Directions and their dedication to helping victims of domestic violence, the officers feel comfortable calling their staff and facilitating that connection between the two agencies. These officers know that when they call the New Directions staff, the victims will get the help they need. I can’t imagine not having the great resource that New Directions brings to Decatur County. I can say that without them here, we would need to spend many more man-hours assisting in the victims’ process of getting out of the situations they are in. Please don’t get me wrong; we at the Greensburg Police Department would do whatever needed to be done, but by doing that all by ourselves, it could potentially take away from other calls for services being requested. Just knowing that Diane and her staff are a phone call away is very reassuring to me and my staff.

I hope with this letter, we can count on continued support from the community and other organizations providing resources to New Directions to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Decatur County who find themselves victims of domestic violence.

Thank you for your time,

Stacey Chasteen,

Chief of Police,

City of Greensburg