301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL. 1 #5
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
I want to talk about two topics which have grown each year to new and higher levels. They each exert powerful influences on individuals and their families. As time goes on, the needs become more and more critical.
What subjects are these? One is Domestic Violence. The other is Attempted Suicide.
In both cases, the number of such incidents the Sheriff’s Department actually deals with continues to increase. Although we have only completed the first four months of 2011, the number of 911 calls made for each of these is higher than most would expect.
From January 1 to April 30, we have had 203 911 calls regarding Domestic Violence. In this same time frame, 34 such calls have been made regarding attempted suicide. And when we check the statistics throughout the nation, we find that the numbers are consistent with many other geographic areas. That suggests that the motivational factors for these activities and actions are responding to behavior and acceptance of principles that have reached a widespread level throughout our society.
As a result, we recognize that our department will continue to be dealing with both of these situations, and possibly with growing numbers of each. The question arises, how can we improve our ability to deal with victims and participants in these acts? How can we help the victims find the necessary assistance to free themselves from the factors that caused them?
The main answer is to provide thorough and proven techniques to our staff through effective training programs.
Here are some of the objectives we have defined as desirable goals for these programs.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: The abuse in these cases generally is one of these three categories: physical battering, sexual assault, or emotional and psychological abuse. They all bear one common characteristic. They generally escalate over a period of time. Many law enforcement agencies consider domestic violence to be their number one problem. We are in that group.
In virtually all cultures, the batterers are generally males. Even if a family member is not the object of the violence, psychological damage can and often will occur to others involved.
But the situation is complicated by the fact that domestic violence, which we usually think of as being physical, can and often is sexual, emotional, and even economic. The common characteristic is that the behavior is a response to a need to control the victim and to gain and maintain power over that person.
In such cases, it is often difficult to obtain convictions because of the reluctance of the victim to turn against the abuser.
But there are factors which, when handled successfully, can lead to reductions in the occurrence of these activities plus improve conviction rates. Coupled with public awareness of the true nature of the actions, public recognition and response can be substantially increased so that the situations can more easily be recognized and minimized.
SUICIDE PREVENTION: The scale of these attempts has been increasing. In 2009, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States. Among the younger generation, suicide has become known as the “Silent Epidemic” with almost one out of ever 15 young people attempting it in the previous 12 months. In the state of Illinois, almost 13% of our young people admitted they had seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months.
Overcoming these situations will require recognition and awareness of the motivating factors at many levels. The Jason Flatt Act provides that school guidance counselors, teachers, and other school personnel receive training identifying the warning signs of such behavior. I believe this strategy will prove to be a vital step in working to solve the problem of the Silent Epidemic. It will help to unite the entire community.
Those who contemplate this action, or someone close to them, are often the ones making 911 calls for help. This is a situation in which law enforcement contact may be a key ingredient in helping the person to reject the final determination.
That is why I believe the training program we use will allow our deputies to recognize and react to the full range of these situations. I believe this training will improve our capacity to extend much needed assistance in many ways during our response phases at any level from dealing with 911 calls to establishing close personal contact. It is my opinion that this training, combined with the related school programs, can lead to substantial progress in dealing with this issue.
Department Activity for the first 4 months of the year: