Thursday, 17. October 2013
Police officers in St. Paul conducted their annual “Family Violence Apprehension Detail” on Wednesday in hopes of getting some wanted fugitives off the street, and the program netted at least 12 arrests.
Since 2007, St. Paul police have conducted the annual sweep to help bring domestic violence offenders to justice. The one-day sweep is held each October to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Today is one of those days where we get a chance to send a message to the worst of the worst,” said Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom.
The St. Paul department is just one of over 200 law enforcement agencies that conducts an annual sweep each October. Unlike other types of crimes, many domestic assaults go unreported. Bostrom said the sweep gives the police another chance to intervene and prevent further violence.
“There are very few times when we get a chance to interrupt that. Today is one of those days,” he said.
According to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, 35 Minnesotans have already lost their lives this year due to domestic violence. If that number is correct, it’s a big jump from 2012, when 19 domestic violence-related deaths occurred in the state. If the deaths continue at the current rate, 44 individuals will lose their lives to domestic violence, the most in a calendar year since 2001.
The numbers are even more concerning when you consider how well the state had been doing in reducing the number of domestic violence deaths in recent years. 2012 marked the fewest number of domestic violence-related deaths in over twenty years.
The sweep targeted 92 suspects, many of whom were considered “heavy hitters,” or individuals with multiple offenses, said St. Paul police Cmdr. Mary Nash.
“This is about making a big impression that we know who you are, you’ve done some bad things, and we’re after you,” she added.
Acting on little more than the suspect’s last known address, St. Paul police officers were able to track down and arrest 12 domestic assault suspects, and the Ramsey County sheriff’s office believe more arrests could come in the following days as other suspects learn they are wanted by the police.
In one instance, officers stopped at a suspect’s work after they were unable to locate him at his house.
“I’m losing money,” the suspect said as he was being led away in handcuffs.
Although the specific sweep is conducted once a year in October, this isn’t the first time law enforcement officers in Minnesota have attempted to round up domestic violence offenders. Back in July, the Hennepin County sheriff’s office conducted a similar domestic violence sweep with the help of more than a dozen surrounding agencies.
If you would like to report the whereabouts of an individual with an outstanding domestic violence warrant, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling 888-988-TIPS.
Related source: Pioneer Press