With 744 domestic disputes in St. Lawrence County last year, troopers remind victims of available services
Friday, October 11, 2013 - 5:06 pm

Having responded to 744 domestic dispute cases in St. Lawrence County last year, state police say services are available for what they call a widespread problem.

October is Domestic Violence Month and police are reminding people involved in a domestic violence situation to contact law enforcement immediately for assistance.

Captain Michael J. Girard, commander of Zone 2 in Troop B, which covers the entire county of St. Lawrence, said victims of domestic violence should be aware of the following services available in the county: The Reachout program has a free and confidential 24-hour crisis hotline, offering a host of other services: 265-2422. St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House, based in Canton, offers free services to victims of domestic violence, including crisis intervention, counseling, and shelter: 379-9878. District Attorney Advocates Claire Wolf and Tami Richer, at 379-2225, provide updates on court appearances.

The state Crime Victim's Board offers a victim's assistance program.

The local state Police Crime Victim's Specialist, Molly Nichols, offers services for victims of all types of crimes, including but not limited to domestic violence victims, motor vehicle crash victims, and assault victims. She can be reached at Troop B Headquarters in Ray Brook, in person or by calling (518) 897-2000.

The state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as a variety of behaviors or tactics that are used to control another person in an intimate relationship. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse, and is perpetrated by one person against their intimate partner.

Domestic violence can also be perpetrated by or against a member of the same family or household.

Domestic violence does not discriminate based on race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, or social location, but rather is perpetrated by abusers from all social groups.

In the State Police’s North Country Troop B in 2012, troopers responded to a total of 2,127 reports of domestic incidents.

By county, those numbers are 744 in St. Lawrence County, 569 in Clinton County, 471 in Franklin County, 343 in Essex County, and 12 in Hamilton County. These incidents include verbal arguments between parties, assaults, strangulations, damaging of property, threats of harm, and child endangerment.

While all policing activities involve a degree of risk, particular attention has been paid to the dangers to police of calls to domestic violence situations.

Domestic violence calls can pose lethal risks to officers and have historically been extremely unpredictable and volatile situations for law enforcement.

Troopers, in their response to these calls, have found they can turn into ambushes or unprovoked attacks on officers. These incidents also have resulted in hostage situations and barricaded subjects.

Although troopers are highly trained for these types of responses, they are often met with individuals that are highly emotional, intoxicated and may be in possession of a weapon.