Story by: Libor Jany
State officials are pitching in more than $100,000 to help pay for a new Minneapolis-based program to connect victims of domestic violence to available services, officials say.
The funding will help move forward the pilot program, called the Domestic Assault Response Team (DART), which is a partnership between the Minneapolis Police Department and Cornerstone, a metro-area nonprofit that works to prevent domestic abuse that affects teens and families. Recognizing that domestic violence doesn’t always occur in convenient times and places, officials said that the team — made up of a police detective, a prosecutor and an advocate from Cornerstone — will perform after-hours and weekend home visits in response to domestic disturbance calls. In doing so, they will help connect victims to services they need, officials said.
According to a description of the initiative released before Tuesday’s meeting, the team’s focus will be to provide quicker investigative responses to domestic violence victims, enabling “enhanced prosecution, police and advocacy responses.” As a result, victims and witnesses will be easier to locate, offenders will not have time to manipulate victims, and safety planning for the victim and family will be conducted at the scene.
Similar approaches have been used in places like Fort Worth, Texas, and Chattanooga, Tenn.
The new program has a similar mission to, but is separate from, the City Attorney Office’s ongoing Domestic Violence outreach initiative, which pairs family therapists with officers to follow up on domestic-related calls that don’t result in police reports.
A police spokesman on Tuesday referred further questions about the program to the City Attorney’s Office, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The program’s start date wasn’t immediately known.
The Department of Public Safety grant was among a number of items signed off on by the Ways & Means Committee at its bimonthly meeting Tuesday.
The others included:
Settled a lawsuit brought by the grandson of Deoloris “Dee” Dunn, the city’s first black female officer, alleging that two officers used excessive force during a 2018 arrest.
• Reached a $200,000 settlement with a woman who sued the city and an officer for injuries she suffered after the officer crashed his police squad into a car she was riding in, in fall 2016.
• Settled a lawsuit, filed by former city police officer Scott Peterson, accusing the city of age discrimination after his transfer out of the Violent Offender Task Force in 2011. He was 54 at the time.
• Authorized the creation of the position of director of the newly formed Office of Violence Prevention, with an annual salary of about $100,000.
Final approval for these actions must come from the full Council.
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