We are joining our partner, Superion, in Nashville, TN this month to host a screening of our film preview and to discuss the ways data can inform the criminal justice ecosystem surrounding the intimate partner violence challenge. If you’re a Superion customer going to SUGA 2017, we look forward to seeing you there. Our film preview will be in Hermitage C at 2:15pm on June 20. We will feature our film team, as well as host a conversation with Chief Ken Shultz of the High Point Police and Shay Harger, victim services director at Family Services of the Piedmont.
Law enforcement is on the front lines of domestic violence. Before we can implement policies and procedures to hold offenders accountable, we need to get an accurate portrayal of what is happening behind closed doors in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities.
Domestic violence rears its ugly head every day where at least three people are murdered at the hands of someone they know intimately. On average, across the U.S., domestic violence homicides constitute at least a third of all homicides every year. Moreover, it’s one of the most predictable homicides law enforcement must confront on an annual basis. Officers new to the force start to see the predictable patterns emerge soon after they begin their careers. It’s for this reason, Big Mountain Data works with law enforcement to demonstrate how the data they have already in their RMS and CAD systems can reveal answers today.
Our longtime partner, SunGard Public Sector, invited us to orchestrate a panel at this year’s International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference to discuss how data analysis played a major role in the highly successful High Point Model, now recognized by the DOJ’s Office of Violence Against Women.
The workshop will be moderated by V.P. Kevin Lafeber, of SunGard Public Sector. Participating on the panel will be retired Chief Marty Sumner, who led the domestic violence initiative for High Point for the past 7 years, as well as the crime analysis team from High Point and SunGard PS that had to modify the RMS in order to effectively implement the ground-breaking tracking system. Chief Ken Shultz will talk about future improvements and enhancements to the OFDVI strategy.
The IACP conference will be held October 15-18 in San Diego, CA. This session will fill up early, so be sure to reserve your spot.
Readers of this blog should know we’ve been working on a film since our inception. The story, which we have been calling, Turning Point, is a documentary about a city in North Carolina that got serious about its domestic violence problem. With documentaries, the power of the story sometimes reveals itself the further you get into the process. This is exactly what happened with our film team. At some point last year, we all came to the same conclusion: This story is bigger than us. We knew we had a tiger by the tail that deserved a mass audience and higher production values.
Today, after a few months of deliberation and putting the pieces together, we’re announcing we’re partnering with a world class documentary filmmaker to produce the High Point story. We’re starting over to create a feature film with an ambitious budget and with professionals who are expert filmmakers and storytellers. The amazing news is, we will continue to work on this project creatively. Our two directors will be filming and editing the story. My role will be to continue to advise on the story, and pitch in on fund-raising.
Our partner is The Documentary Group. The “Doc Group,” as its known in the film industry, is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in the world. The company was founded in 2006 by core members of PJ Productions following the death of legendary broadcaster Peter Jennings. The producers and directors were the team behind Jennings’ documentaries at ABC News. We had our first meeting with the doc group in November, and decided to move forward together to tell this incredible story. This week, the film team is back in High Point kicking off the first of many on-location shoots.
Our producer on the film, Tom Yellin, was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Cartel Land. Cartel Land is a feature documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. It has since won a series of high profile industry recognition awards and accolades including the 2015 George Polk Award for Documentary Film. Next Sunday, February 28, we hope you’ll tune in to the Oscars and wish Tom well.
The High Point story has the potential to make a difference in the field of domestic violence unlike nothing else we could have imagined when we started thinking about fresh, new ways to look at this age-old social problem that results in injuries, broken families, and deaths every day. We hope you share in our excitement and anticipation for the completion of this game-changing story.
Advocates often cite fear, shame and stigma as reasons some domestic violence victims hesitate to report their abuse. Turns out those pressures may be even stronger among families with a member working in law enforcement.
Two studies cited by the National Center for Women and Policing (NCWP), at least 40 percent of law enforcement families experience domestic violence. That’s four times as high an incidence than in families in the general population.
Victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because their offender has a gun, knows the location of women’s shelters and “knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim, according to the NCWP. The organization also notes a failure of police department policies and a history of “exceedingly light discipline.”
Family violence by law enforcement is especially heinous because of its misuse of power. When cops refuse to police themselves, it’s the worst example of the Thin Blue Line.
Retired Capt. Donna Roman Hernandez, who served 29 years in law enforcement in New Jersey, bravely shares her abuse at the hands her police officer father on the website corrections.com.
“My fear was that if I disclosed the abuse to my police department, would they question how I could I protect others if I could not protect myself?” Hernandez writes. “Throughout my law enforcement career I never disclosed the abuse. I suffered in silence and hid my bruises and scars underneath my police uniform, guarded my family’s secret and internalized the guilt and shame of the abuse. Ironically, I arrested domestic violence offenders for the same acts of violence I allowed my father to perpetrate upon me.”
She shares a harrowing account of finally standing up to her father after he abused her and her mother for years. Her experience, she writes, “speaks to the global widespread epidemics of child abuse and domestic violence that affect women and men from all socioeconomic groups, races, cultures, religions and professions, including law enforcement.”
She concludes with a core philosophy of Big Mountain Data: All domestic violence offenders must be held accountable – even if the abuser is a cop.