Domestic Disturbances - Dangerous Calls

Domestic Disturbances - Dangerous Calls
By: Arnold Wyrick

JACKSON COUNTY, IL -- In Jackson County, domestic disturbances tops the list of the most often situations officers respond to on a daily basis.
"Domestic violence is probably number one on the scale of degree of danger," says Deputy Shauna Taylor with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
Taylor says, they're not always welcomed to the fight, even though someone's called for help.
"They're in a heated argument, fighting, and they're usually very angry.  So when someone else tries to come in and it's a family matter, they see that as an intrusion."
Still, officers must enter the house and bring the situation under control before someone gets hurt or even worse killed.
"You want to watch out for sudden movements from them.  You're watching their hands a lot. And try to sit them in a hard-sided chair.  Because you want to watch out for weapons.  Weapons can be hidden in cushions and couches," Deputy Taylor said.
Normally two officers respond to a domestic disturbance call in the county, but that's not always possible.
"You'll probably be responding on your own. Because sometimes your back up will be all the way across the county.  If you're by yourself the most you can do is maybe separate them to different sides of the room," Deputy Taylor said.
In the city limits though officers there have a slight advantage over their counterparts in the county when it comes to handling dangerous calls.
"We certainly do benefit from having a large sized department.  And the ability to have several officers on the scene for those types of calls," says Officer Randy Mathis with the Carbondale Police Department.
Officer Mathis points out having plenty of back up at a domestic disturbance doesn't make them any safer.
"You try to work every direction that you can in order for you to contain that situation, enough to where there's no access to weapons inside the house, or outside.  Regardless of what the case may be.  In order for you to go home that night, and everybody else is safe."
In 2003 the number one call officers responded to, where they were injured or killed was traffic stops, followed by attempted arrests and rounding out the list of the top three was domestic disturbances.
The Carbondale Police Department wrote reports on 210 domestic disturbances in 2004.