Law enforcement agency reflects on dangers of domestic-related calls

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and over 16,000 of those end in a fatality.

Also, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 39.7% of Mississippi women and 31.7% of Mississippi men experience domestic violence. Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said he and his deputies respond to these incidents too often.

They are very dangerous to deal with. The officers don’t know what they are walking into.

14% of the deaths involving law enforcement officers across the United States every year are related to domestic, and Hawkins said it’s a very dangerous situation to walk into.

“We have to make an arrest, and in a lot of cases, the victim and the aggressor or assailant both go to jail because they both have injuries, and it is not up to us who goes to jail; it is up to the court,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins says they also contend with some unique cases.

“We go to arrest the man, and now we have to deal with her because she is jumping on us to take him to jail. That happens a lot.”

Hawkins said his department responds to over 2,000 calls a month. 15% to 50% are domestic-related with limited staff, and he said communication is key.

“The officers communicate with one another, whether it is on the radio or by phone so they are communicating with each other because we have dealt with these people in the past, so having a heads up and knowing who we are dealing with helps,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said the Sheriff’s Department is in constant conflict with de-escalation training for the safety of his staff.

If you are in a crisis or know someone who is, call the Lowndes County 24/7 crisis line, or if your life is in danger, call 911.

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