Lip-sync look into domestics gets reactions

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

A Georgia police Lip Sync Challenge video is garnering reactions here and everywhere for the way it flips a concept to stare down domestic violence.

Pickens County, Georgia, has a few things in common with Dubois County. Both have cities named Jasper as the county seat. Both have sheriff’s that go by Donny/Donnie (Sheriff Donny Lampert here and Sheriff Donnie Craig there). And both are taking a no-tolerance approach to domestic violence.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Department’s Lip Sync Challenge video that has garnered more than 11 million hits starts with a party theme and a cheeky promise that cops are about to “drop it like it’s hot.”

But the zany fun grinds to a halt when Sheriff Craig enters to challenge his deputies to think outside the box if they are truly determined to make a difference.

What follows is a domestic violence response scenario set to David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium.” A little girl calls for help and men and women in uniform speed to get to her and her mother in time behind this chorus: “I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose. Fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away.”

The Herald shared the video on social media and one of the first to comment was Crisis Connection Director Paula Rasche. She wrote: “Thank you Dubois County Herald for noting the importance! This illustrates where our (Crisis Connection) passion comes from. On the daily we (community) see the impact that Violence has (physical & mental health issues, poor attendance at school and work, poor performance, substance use).”

Crisis Connection focuses on prevention and response to domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to community education, Crisis Connection runs a 24-hour hotline (at 1-800-245-4580) that domestic violence and sexual assault victims can call to get help. Victims can also come to any of the offices to meet with advocates who will work with them to cope with the abuse.

Crisis Connection currently serves Dubois, Spencer, Pike, Crawford, Martin, Orange and Perry counties. Last year, with Daviess County also in the mix, the agency assisted 358 domestic violence victims in its service delivery area.

This year, as of the end of July, Crisis Connection had assisted 59 domestic violence victims in Dubois County. There are multiple contacts with each victim and 75 children associated with them, according to the agency.

Crisis Connection’s new prevention education curriculum being taken into schools to get ahead of the problem has one program for children in kindergarten through age 14 and another for high schoolers.

“We’ve really expanded our focus on the kids impacted,” Rasche said when asked to expound on her social media comment. “We hired a new child advocate just this spring focusing on the needs of children.

“That’s why that video was so ‘on the mark.’ It doesn’t end when the cops arrive.”

As for Pickens County, the sheriff’s department says it is proud of its video that shows how deputies serve, protect and provide compassion on a daily basis.

The department’s video closes with sobering statistics, like Georgia law enforcement responding to 65,487 family violence incidents in one recent year. And an estimate that 15.5 million children have witnessed acts of domestic violence nationwide within the last year.

Quickly tallying Dubois County’s numbers when it comes to family violence is not an easy task, explains Dubois County 911 Communications Director Janice Love. A domestic battery and a domestic situation would be lumped under a “domestic” heading and a situation requiring an ambulance, depending on the dispatcher, might be coded “ambulance requested.”

With that as a disclaimer, Love says Dubois County logged 376 domestics and 38 batteries in 2017; 407 domestics and 66 batteries in 2016; and 440 domestics and 41 batteries in 2015.

“So, looking at these numbers, it seems as though (totals) are decreasing,” Love said, “when, in fact, it could just be the way we coded the call based upon the situation.”

Love says it seems her dispatchers and law enforcement are busier with each passing year.

Sheriff Lampert can break down the numbers further, for instance splitting those battery totals into aggravated battery, battery by bodily waste, battery on a person less than 14 years old, battery on law enforcement and battery resulting in injury. Of the 48 people arrested for domestic battery this year, one individual has been jailed three times.

The most important thing, Lampert said, is that the public realize family violence cannot be tolerated and that law enforcement is there to help.

 




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