Okay listen up. Although I have been a cop longer than some of you have been on this earth, I started out the same as you. Dumb to the ways of the world and easily tricked.
This topic is one that I feel strongly about.
It’s the call that can effect people’s lives long after we have left.
Domestic fight calls.
We all hate them.
This article is both for cops and potential victim’s who could learn from my experience.
As I have stressed in other articles, being a cop has given me a unique perspective into deviant human behavior. These calls stick to us long after we have experienced them. Thank goodness not everything about the job is so bleak.
Some days we actually get to help people. Everyday is different in police work.
There are some calls however that are more frequent than others. Probably the most frequent call we respond to are calls of domestic violence.
I can honestly say, with no body worn camera required, I have never worked a shift in my 23 years where either myself or another officer working with me has not responded to a call of domestic violence.
Cops hate these calls
It’s not that we don’t want to help those who need us. These calls, especially when children are in the home, drain us. There is also an increased chance that one of us could be hurt or killed when responding to these calls.
It is also difficult at times when all we have is her word against his without any other evidence.
Early in my career, while working the south side of our city, I responded to a domestic violence call between a husband and wife. The wife was being loud and abrasive with me and my partner, yelling and screaming for us to take her husband to jail for hitting her.
The husband, who was sitting on the front porch, remained overly calm and relaxed, insisting that his wife was crazy.
I would later learn, through updated domestic violence training, this was a classical demeanor an abuser would use to fool us.
We cleared the call and would later mark off duty.
The next day, as I arrived for work, I was greeted by my Shift Sergeant. He handed me a stack of warrants and told me what the husband had done to his wife before and after we had cleared the call from the day before. It was bad.
I was embarrassed. Ashamed.
I had been conned and it could have cost this woman her life.
But I learned from this mistake and from future training.
Now, after investigating thousands of domestic violence complaints over my career, I want to share what I know. I want to make you aware of these 4 early warning signs that almost all abusers display. Remember, these are just the four, in my opinion, that are at the top of the list.
This knowledge could potentially save your life.
And for you young cops, learn these warning signs.
And I’m not talking about the healthy form of jealousy that all humans feel for loved ones.
This is the kind of jealousy that doesn’t look good. Like “you know it when you see it” kind of jealousy that’s not good. Many abusers will have this common trait that builds over time.
With abusers, the outward jealousy they display quickly develops into an almost manic obsession with you.
And it’s not healthy. Or normal.
Throughout my career I have investigated thousands of domestic assault calls. I remember early in my career I wanted to know why or what was the universal cause of these events.
Without fail it would almost unanimously begin with a statement similar to this one;
“He accused me of sleeping with my co-worker when he grabbed the phone from me. When I tried to get it back…that’s when he punched me in the face”.
If you have ever felt the sting of jealousy, you know how hurtful and painful it can be. An abuser takes the hurt and turns into anger and sometimes hatred.
It’s not long before he then turns it into rage and then violence.
2. He breaks things.
This one trait and early warning sign of an abuser sometimes gets overlooked as either passion or just him having a bad day.
It is neither.
Before I have every male in this country bashing me for taking the side of the female and for writing this article, let me be clear. It is one thing to be angry and punch a wall out of frustration.
It is something entirely different when you see every door, wall and every other content in a house destroyed. Trust me, when you see it, like I have on too many calls, it screams of an abusive spouse or partner.
It’s only a matter of time before his aggression and anger towards inanimate objects turns to something new.
And that would be you.
3. Past Abuse
Many abusers cannot change their violent ways. Be it the way they were raised, past traumatic events or just hard wiring. Now I know human beings have the ability to change and some do.
Sadly, most don’t.
If, while vetting your new partner (and yes you should definitely do this) or acquaintance, you come across past violent behavior, please proceed with caution.
I honestly can’t think of one instance where I have arrested someone for domestic assault and it be some fluke occurrence with no prior history of violence.
The laws have gotten a little better in providing stiffer penalties for those who are convicted of domestic violence on more than one occasion.
This warning sign is non-negotiable. Meaning, get out. And I don’t mean plan on making a move or contemplating the meaning and future of the relationship.
Grab your kids and cellphone and leave. NOW!
Isolation is one of the more insidious ways an abuser uses to control and ultimately hide their activity. I have seen, on multiple occasions, where the abuser has refused to let their partner have any interaction with family or friends.
In some of the worst cases, I have seen where the phone lines have been cut by the abuser (and now, cell phones being turned off).
The tactic of isolation is similar to those used by cult leaders who want to brainwash their victims and control any influence from the outside world. I have interviewed many victims of domestic violence who had been isolated for days and sometimes years. It really is one of the sadder things I have seen as a cop.
I encourage each of you to share this article with friends and family. Also, please share with those who you suspect may be in an abusive relationship or know someone who is.
If you are currently in an abusive relationship and are wondering what your next move should be, your first step should be to call your local police or sheriff’s office. They will offer the resources in your area that are available to victims of abuse.