Pitt Co., out-of-state law enforcement talk domestic violence initiative

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Law enforcement agencies from around the country came to Pitt County Wednesday to discuss a recently implemented program aimed at stopping domestic violence and getting help for those who need it.

It is part of Lethality Assessment Program, known as LAP. Chelsey Waters is the LAP coordinator at the Center of Family Violence Prevention in Pitt County, and she said the program helps get victims in touch with services that can help them.

“Our lines of communication are coming together more, and we have just a stronger support system and resources for victims of domestic violence,” Waters said.

Pitt County, along with four other communities in California, Ohio, Illinois and Florida now follow the domestic violence prevention model, which aims to reduce domestic violence homicides.

“They go to the call. They get them in contact actually with the advocate, and the advocates are able to explain to them right then and there what kind of benefits they have, what kind of resources they have, to help them get out of the dangerous situation that they’re in,” said Detective Michael Stroud, LAP coordinator with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

Stroud said it helps build a stronger communication line between police, deputies and victims of domestic violence.

Since the program started, there has been some noticeable changes in the area.

“We’re able to provide services to victims of domestic violence that never knew about these services and provide them with more support than we have been in the past,” said Waters.

The five communities involved in the program discussed how to better help those in need by sharing first-hand experience.

All have seen improvements in domestic violence situations and all agreed on one thing.

“To rethink this issue and commit the resources to make a difference and improve the safety of citizens in Pitt County,” said Sgt. John Guard with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, the domestic violence hotline number is 252-752-3811.

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