Fargo PD Create New Role to Curb Domestic Violence - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo PD Create New Role to Curb Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is a tough and terrifying situation many people get caught up in. Often, at no fault of their own. In just three years, more than 2900 people have asked for help from the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center in Fargo. For the past year Fargo Police stepped up their game too as they noticed the unsettling trend. Valley News Live discovered they created a position that's sole purpose is to curb domestic violence right here in the valley.

Domestic violence, like any type of violence, is the last thing you want to hear about in your community. But that's a big part of why the issue is being dealt with head-on by the Fargo Police department.

"There's no question we've certainly seen an increased in the last year and last several years relative to the number of domestic violence instances happening in our community." Says Fargo's Chief of Police Keith Ternes.

For the past year, the Fargo PD has enlisted a domestic violence investigator to help those who are dealing with a problem often not acknowledged. Chief Ternes explains; "I think it's an issue that for many, many years has been perceived as something that law enforcement or the community in general should have limited involvement in. Many look at it as a private family matter."

So how does this new detective's role make things different? Now they do more thorough questioning after a domestic violence crime happens. Detective Chris Nichtern says follow ups and more in depth questioning of victims and those accused is vital to a conclusive investigation, "instead of yes or no questioning, it's like tell me about that. Or how did it feel, or what were you thinking? More open ended to get a better description."

Those are the types of questions that will better the chances of getting a conviction that will stick in court. Now they even record those conversations so that they can make sure the accused don't go unpunished.

"When we didn't have a recording a lot of times victims would say I never said that." Says Detective Nichtern.

Both Chief Ternes and Detective Nichtern say that while numbers might not indicate at this point that their efforts are forcing more criminals to be punished, they know that what they're doing today is helping expose and curb a disturbing trend.

"I think we're gonna see some real success in terms of addressing this issue in the not so distant future." Says Chief Keith Ternes.

Over the past year the domestic violence investigator has also been doing random well-being checks to homes affected by abuse. This is the first time the Fargo PD has gone to such lengths to try and put an end to domestic violence.

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