In January of 2015, I was invited at the request of the High Point Police Department, to learn about the agency’s incredible work on domestic violence. It was a full two-day workshop and law enforcement agencies from around the country attended. Also present were representatives from The Battered Women’s Justice Project, the Department of Justice, John Jay College, and The Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR).
Sandra Tibbetts Murphy, BWJP
Before I got to the meeting, I met a woman in line at the car rental counter. We exchanged jokes and pleasantries about the inefficiency (understatement) of the car-renting process. When I got to the HPPD workshop, I spotted this same woman in our session! That woman was Sandra Tibbetts Murphy. She asked tough questions in our workshop, and I made a mental note to be sure to connect with her after the two-day training class was over.
Sandi is a world-class attorney who’s written extensively on scholarly and legislative aspects of domestic violence law. Many times, I’ve reached out to her over this past year and asked her to clarify aspects of the law I didn’t fully comprehend. She has always been patient and kind to give me her best insights on her interpretation of the law or the issue I was addressing.
Today, I’m proud to announce Sandi is joining our esteemed Board of Advisors. She will now be able to engage with our extended team on our enterprise social network, and help guide and inform our understanding of the law.
Retired Chief Marty Sumner, HPPD
The second superstar joining our board is someone I’ve come to know and admire since our very inception. In fact, it was his words spoken on national television in September 2014, that compelled me to jump out of my seat and demand to know more. At the height of the Ray Rice saga, ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos ran an investigative segment on domestic violence. I will never forget the words I heard that day:
“In the five years before we began this, we had 17 domestic-related violence homicides. In the five years since, we’ve only had one.” – Chief Marty Sumner, September 2014.
Chief Sumner retired from his 31-year in law enforcement last May. He has an unparalleled understanding of crime data, and especially domestic violence data. For the past 7 years, he led the initiative to apply focused deterrence to High Point’s domestic violence problem that was once over a third of the city’s homicides. What has come to be known as the High Point Model has now been recognized by the DOJ’s Office of Violence Against Women, resulting in a $1.6M contract to the National Network for Safe Communities for replication and further evaluation. The High Point story is the subject of our documentary. It was Chief Sumner who led the effort to perform a thorough analysis of the city’s domestic violence data, make necessary modifications to the law enforcement software, and implement a system of reporting and alerts that established the baseline that fueled the High Point Model’s success.
The addition of these two strong advocates for change have added a new layer of credibility and strength to our mission.