Cuts made to Detroit police domestic violence unit raise concerns

It may take it longer to resolve if they are taken out of the equation," said Emma Peterson, president of domestic violence shelter the YWCA. "

A big change in the Detroit Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit.

Some advocates are concerned about the impact - and how DPD is responding.

"We have a 67 bed facility and it is full all of the time," said Emma Peterson, president of domestic violence shelter YWCA.

Peterson who heads up the YWCA, Detroit's only domestic violence shelter, says advocates get dozens of calls day and night from women - many with children, trying to escape their attacker.

That's why she was not thrilled to learn about a big change at the DPD domestic violence unit where starting this week, investigators will no longer be working overnight.

"It is definitely going to be an impact on how we do our work on the victims out there," she said. "Unfortunately because it is something that just occurred, we will wait to see how it will pan out."

FOX 2 has learned three investigators which included a sergeant and two officers, who were normally sent to investigate multiple domestic violence calls from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m., have been moved to the afternoon shift.

Now when domestic violence victim calls 911 after 10 p.m., officers will still respond but investigators are now on call responding to a scene from home.

There is concern about delays in the investigation, lost witnesses and tainted crime scenes if detectives aren't able to respond right away.

But Cmdr. Marlon Wilson, who is in charge of the Major Crimes Division and oversees the domestic violence unit, claims that won't be an issue.

"They will be on call they will be on standby a lot of our other major crime units," he said.

FOX 2: "Are you worried there may be a delay in investigating these crime scenes?"

"If we get a call we have individuals on standby," Wilson said. "We also have an on-duty component that we call our response teams so if there is a major incident we can utilize that service as well."

Temporary investigators may be sent to the scene until the on-call detectives, who are called in only for the most critical crimes, arrive.

Peterson, who has an advocate working with DPD, says they have always had a good working relationship and she hopes it stays that way.

"I am worried about it," she said. "But I'm optimistic about it because we have been provided these services for many years."

Cmdr. Wilson says the department plans to meet with the YWCA to explain the changes and he says, like any new plan if it doesn't work, they would be willing to make some changes.
 

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