Domestic violence calls can be dangerous for responding officers

By  | 

DICKINSON, N.D. - While Dickinson's population has decreased somewhat since the oil downturn, police say the number of domestic violence calls has remained steady.

Police say domestic violence cases can be some of the most dangerous ones they can get. The Domestic Violence And Rape Crisis Center says it gets more calls now than during the boom.

"The severity has increased no more-so than during the boom, and I would attribute that to drugs and alcohol that we're seeing in the town now," says Heather Ingman, Case Manager, Child Advocate, Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center.

Calls that often put officers in sticky situations.

"When they're calling law enforcement, they're not calling and saying 'he has a gun, he has a knife', they're saying I need help and I need help now.,'" says Ingman.

Case manager Heather Ingman says the center has a close working relationship with Dickinson Police who are put in unpredictable situations responding to domestic disturbances.

"Domestic violence cases are one of the most dangerous cases that we show up for that are not listed as a firearm case, or a knife case, or an assault case," says Captain David Wilkie, Dickinson Police Dept.

Wilkie says they take extra precaution with those calls. Sending officers in pairs, staying in an open area to avoid hazards.

"The police arrive and all of a sudden we're interfering with their private lives. There's times when a domestic violence case will turn to be against us," says Wilkie.

Wilkie says their top priority is keeping victims safe but keeping officers safe as well.

Dickinson Police responded to almost 400 domestic violence calls in 2014, about 32 a month.

This year it's been about 31 a month.​