ARTICLE XII


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/DISTURBANCE - POLICY AND PROCEDURE



EDITORIAL NOTE: Article XII was created by the authority of Ord. No.95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.00 Statutory Authorization


    In accordance with La. R.S. 46:2140 through 2142, the following is established as the Parish's policy and procedure for handling of domestic violence incidents. Law enforcement

officers shall abide by the following investigating ALL complaints of domestic violence and domestic disturbances. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

STATE REFERENCE: LSA R.S. 46:2140 through 2142 provides for authority of law enforcement officers in domestic violence situations.

SEC.

15-900.01 Purpose


    The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that in situations where violent crimes have occurred and there is reason to believe that a family or household member has been abused, a law enforcement officer shall immediately use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.02 Policy


    A.    Officers investigating incidents of domestic violence where probable cause exists that a violent crime has occurred, shall exercise their legal authority to make physical arrests.

    B.    Recognizing that victims may fear reprisals, officers investigating such incidents shall exercise their authority to make a physical arrest where probable cause exists that a violent crime has been committed even though the victim refuses to pursue criminal charges. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.03 Definitions


Domestic Relationships: A Relationship in which parties are adults who have shared an intimate relationship or are spouses (legal, common law, divorced, separated), relatives, close friends, or companions or other groupings of individuals who are interpersonally related, who share or formerly shared a common household, also to include couples who are dating or have dated, or who are or have been engaged.

Domestic Violence Crimes: Aggravated Battery; Second Degree Battery; the commission or attempted commission of felonies against the person of another of any type; or the unlawful restraint of any type where the victim and perpetrator are domestically related.

Domestic Disturbance Crimes: The commission of Aggravated or Simple Assault (attempt to commit a batter); Simple Battery with or without physical evidence of injuries; Simple or Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property; Criminal Trespass; Criminal Mischief; or any like Criminal Disturbance specifically involving a threat of physical abuse, where victim and perpetrator are domestically related.

Officer:    Any duly authorized sheriff, police chief, commissioned law enforcement agent, deputy or peace officer, justice of the peace or constable authorized and empowered to enforce and uphold the laws of the United States, the State of Louisiana, and the Parish of St. Tammany. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.04 Responsibilities of Officer Investigating Complaints



A.    An officer will not use the relationship or gender of the parties involved as a factor for determining if an arrest or successful prosecution can be made. The officer will not attempt to dissuade any party from filing criminal charges if there exists enough probable cause for a charge.

B.    An officer will fully explain the victim's right to pursue charges, as well as refer the victim to seek legal advice concerning civil matters and protective orders (La. R.S. 46:2136). An officer shall fully explain the legal process and procedure involved in the filing of charges, arrest, detention, and subsequent trial. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.05 Evidence Collection/Statement


A.    Where possible, obtain photographs of the victim's injuries, if any, however slight.
B.    Describe fully any and all injuries to any party.
C.    If appropriate, obtain photographs of the scene of a violent assault or attack or damaged property.
D.    Obtain written statement(s) from victim(s).
E.    Obtain statements from witnesses.
F.    File copies of any medical related evidence (physician's report, etc.) with initial police report and with consent of the victim. Prepare a supplemental investigative report where needed.
G.    Note on the initial report any prior arrests or convictions for similar offenses.
(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.06 Arrest Decisions


A.    Mandatory Physical Arrest in Domestic Violence Cases

        Officers SHALL make a physical arrest where probable cause exists that any of the crimes enumerated in the definition of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE were committed, whether or not the offense was committed in the officer's presence. An officer SHALL make a physical arrest even though the victim may not wish to prefer or refuses to prefer charges in cases of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

B.    Arrest Decision in Domestic Disturbance Cases

        Officers MAY make a physical arrest where probable cause exists that any of the crimes enumerated in the definition of DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE were committed, using the following:

    1.    An Officer SHALL make a physical arrest where he reasonably believes that there is impending danger to the physical safety of the abused person in the officer's absence.

    2.    If there is no cause to believe there is impending danger, the officer may, at his/her discretion, issue a Summons in lieu of physical arrest. (Any pattern of continued or repeated threats between the two parties shall be taken into consideration when deciding whether to arrest or issue a summons.) (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)


SEC.

15-900.07 Minimal Reporting Requirements


    An officer should clearly identify this incident as “domestic” in the narrative portion of the report. The officers will provide a detailed report on any incident of domestic or family violence, providing the relationship of the parties; a detailed description of injuries; persons interviewed and statement obtained; evidence observed or collected; a detailed description of the conversation between the complainant/victim and the Communications Section (copy of audio tape may be ordered); and any other pertinent facts (intoxication, apparent mental problems, etc...) in the narrative portion of the offense report. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.08 Mandatory Report Requirements in Non-Arrest Situations


    In accordance with the statute, when legal cause for an arrest does not exist, officers shall still document any domestic violence or domestic disturbance incident by:

    A.    Making a detailed offense report, including a written statement of an assault victim.

    B.    Provide the victim(s) with a complaint/item number slip.

    C.    Refer the victim to private legal counsel or the Justice of the Peace, Civil Court, or other agency if further assistance is needed.
(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.09 Follow-Up Investigation/Warrants Required


    Where further investigation is necessary, the investigating officer will notify an on-duty supervisor of such fact. If warranted, the officer shall obtain a warrant for arrest; execute the warrant if possible; or put the warrant into the local crime computer system if not executed. Members shall complete all required follow-up tasks as soon as possible. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.10 Refusal of Victim to Pursue Charges; Charges on Behalf of Parish/State


    In cases of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE where the victim refuses to pursue or to cooperate, the officer making the arrest shall file his report with his respective agency for consideration.

    A.    The assaulted person shall be listed as the victim.

    B.    The officer, in his official capacity, shall be listed as a witness. (Example: “Deputy John Jones, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department, 510 East Boston Street, Covington, La. 70433".)

    C.    The Arrest Report/Booking Sheet shall reflect that the charges are related to Domestic Violence. (Example: “Violation of Police Jury Ordinance P.J.S. Domestic Violence.)

(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.11 Victim Assistance



    
A.    Officers shall provide victims with a Public Information Notice of Domestic Violence Assistance Programs. Copies of the notice shall be kept on stock by the various law enforcement agencies in St. Tammany Parish.

    B.    If necessary, ensure that victims receive prompt, medical attention or are transported to a medical facility.

    C.    Provide assistance in securing transportation from the scene to an alternate residence or shelter as indicated.(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.12 Juveniles Protection Procedure


    Officers conducting an investigation of Domestic Violence of Domestic Disturbances where children are present, will be cognizant of statutes providing for the removal of the child in the case of neglect, abuse, or where the safety of the child is in danger.

    A.    Officers who have reasons to believe such is the case in a Domestic Violence or Domestic Disturbance instance shall immediately notify their supervisor. A Juvenile Detective will be summoned where there is a need for immediate removal of the child from the family home.
(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.13 Booking/Bond Procedures


    A.    The Jailer shall notify the appropriate Magistrate or Judicial authority of all arrests involving Domestic Violence.

    B.    Bonds for incidents involving Domestic Violence shall be set by the appropriate Magistrate of Judicial authority.

    C.    If a prisoner arrested for Domestic Violence offenses requires medical attention, he shall be physically booked at the Jail upon release from the medical facility unless authorized otherwise by an immediate supervisor or higher authority only.
(Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SEC.

15-900.14 Ordinance Made Available


    Al law enforcement agencies, justices of the peace, and constables should be provided with copies of this Ordinance and same be made available to all commissioned law enforcement agents, deputies and peace officers. (Ord. No. 95-2177, adopted 03/16/95)

SECS. 15-900.15 - 15-924.99 Reserved