Family advocacy, Glendale PD co-op earns honors

Photo by Airman 1st Class RIDGE SHAN

The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Military University presented a certificate of honor Oct. 25 in Chicago to the Glendale Police Department and Luke Air Force Base Family Advocacy Center for joint efforts in providing support for victims of domestic abuse.

The award, which was accepted by the Glendale police and then handed to members of the Luke FAC in a second ceremony Nov. 5, highlights the cooperation between the officers and detectives of the Glendale Family Advocacy Center and the office of the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate here at Luke in providing resources to care for and protect military-related victims of domestic violence and abuse.

“Domestic violence is often seriously traumatizing and the end result can be deadly,” said Capt. Sonja Raciti, 56th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy officer. “We’ve seen so many victims who have passed away because they remained trapped in violent situations with their abusers and could not figure out how to escape.”

The Luke DAVA and Glendale Family Advocacy Center are able to assist victims by guiding them through legal procedures and providing them with resources such as shelter, transportation and childcare in order to allow the victim and family members to live independently of their abuser.

“Having someone to walk them through the legal process and let them know there really is a light at the end of the tunnel is essential,” Raciti said.

Additionally, partnership with the GPD allows the FAC to more easily direct victims through the process of obtaining restraining and protection orders against aggressors.

“If the victim’s abuser continues to pursue them, text them, call them, or threaten or intimidate them, there is protection police can offer and we can help the victim get that.”

The cooperative efforts of the two advocacies as defined by a memorandum of understanding, a formal agreement of partnership between Luke and the Glendale Police, is resulting in an effect reaching far beyond the local Phoenix community.

“We are looking at creating a like MOU for Air Force installations throughout the Air Force who are interested in how Luke structured theirs,” said David Thomas, senior advisor for the Sexual Assault Prevention Response Office at the Pentagon.

Air Force leaders are looking at what has been accomplished through this partnership, according to Raciti.

“Our higher-ups are really looking at how we work with civilian law enforcement here and are acknowledging this is something we should have Air Force-wide,” she said.

The advocacies are hopeful the impact their collective work has created will continue to help victims for the foreseeable future.

“We enjoy the great partnership we have between Luke and the city of Glendale, and this award is just a reflection of how, when we work together, we create a better community and better services for the people who serve our country at all levels,” said Debora Black, GPD chief of police. “Our MOU establishes our partnership for five years, but I know our cooperation will go far beyond that.”