National speaker conducts domestic abuse prevention training

Published 3:45 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

Everybody in the community has to take responsibility to prevent and end domestic abuse, nationally known speaker Mark Wynn, a former lieutenant with the Nashville, Tenn., police department, told a group of law enforcement officers, victims advocates, emergency medical personnel and other area leaders Friday during a training session on domestic violence.

A national trainer to police executives, officers, prosecutors, judges, legislators, social service providers, health care professionals and victim advocates, Wynn said officers and deputies are to the point they’ll risk their lives for victims, but what about everybody else?

During the training, which went for both Thursday and Friday, Wynn taught about officer and victim safety, stalking awareness, how an offender can manipulate and how to avoid civil jeopardy, among other topics.

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Wynn said he grew up in a home of domestic violence for 10 years. He said he barely made it out alive, but when he did, he told himself he was going to be a police officer to help others who are in situations like he was. Now he’s spreading his expertise about the topic all over the country.

He noted he and other leaders in the prevention of domestic abuse now know that leaving a violent relationship is a process; it can’t just happen overnight. And that is why so many different entities are a part of a victim’s life in going through that process. There may be an array of places in the community where victims may go to seek help or tell their story.

Through a coordinated community response team, key players in community systems are brought together to develop strategies to domestic violence and to ultimately establish ways for the community to intervene in a way that ends abuse.

“We’re trying to strengthen the bonds in each of these groups,” Albert Lea Police Lt. Darren Hansen said, referring to all the different entities present at the training.

Hansen said domestic violence is the Police Department’s leading violent call for service. All three of the area’s most recent homicides were domestic-related.

The lieutenant said he liked that Wynn approached the issue from all perspectives: from the victim’s perspective, from the offender’s perspective and from an officer’s perspective to help teach more.

“It’s great training,” said Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office detective Bob Kindler. “There’s been a lot of things that hit home.”

Kindler said Wynn’s training has helped him and the other officers and deputies realize what they’re good at in dealing with domestic violence, but also what they need to work on.

Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center Director Rose Olmsted said she was grateful Wynn was able to come to Albert Lea. The Albert Lea Medical Center and law enforcement kicked in funds and other services to make it a reality.

“It’s not just about our work with victims,” Olmsted said. “It’s about the coordinated response in the community.”

Wynn noted that rural domestic violence is different than domestic violence in larger communities. In rural communities there are often less services available to the victims, and the victims are less likely to report. Neighbors and others in the community are also less likely to know about the domestic violence because everyone’s homes are so spread out and it takes longer for law enforcement to respond.

During one of his segments of the training, Wynn talked about the tactics abusers use to control their victims. Law enforcement and others need to be aware of those tactics, as the abusers might use those same tactics in different ways when coming in contact with officers.

For questions about domestic violence or about getting out of questionable relationship call 377-5460 during daytime hours or 373-2223 after business hours. On-call trained volunteers cover evening and weekend hours, providing 24-hour response to victims of crime.

Law enforcement can be reached on the non-emergency line at 377-5210 or for emergencies call 911.