Domestic violence calls dangerous for officers, community

GAINESVILLE, Fla., (WCJB) -- Late Monday night, four children were killed in a hostage situation that began as a domestic violence call in Orlando. It was a twenty-four-hour stand-off that left an officer wounded as well as the gunman and hostages dead. TV20 spoke with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to learn more about the dangers of domestic violence calls.

ACSO receives an average of six domestic violence calls a day. Even though they are common, officers are trained to know that every situation could turn deadly. Not only are these types of calls dangerous for officers, ACSO says they're dangerous to our community as well.

“These are the most dangerous calls to go into," said Nancy Marzouk-Brainerd, a Deputy Sheriff with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office civil bureau, "Mainly because you are dealing with extremely emotionally charged situations.”

These high-stress situations can quickly take a turn for the worst…like we saw in Orlando.

“Domestic violence deals with power and control. So here we are, the police, responding, and now we are trying to control a situation for a person who is escalated to this point because they are trying to control their partner," said Marzouk, "So it can go from zero to a hundred very very quickly.”

When we asked why, Marzouk said it is because there could be months or years of background to one call.

“They are never really simple…there are so many layers to these calls,” she said.

Officer Marzouk says that this effects more than just one family at a time.

“it is definitely a community problem--a community issue--whether you’re being affected by it directly, like violence between two adult parties, or if there are kids in the home, and those kids share the same classrooms as your kids, and they’re going to school and being disruptive, or they’re hungry and they’ve been awake and they’ve been exposed to that, that can also rub and it makes it into your home that way. It makes its way through so many cracks in the community.”

Even in the face of danger, ACSO says that there are ways they can help.

“Leaving can’t be a knee-jerk reaction" Marzouk advised, "It must be a methodically planned decision, so tap into the community resources; peaceful paths, our advocates here at the sheriff’s office, those are the steps that they can help you get in touch with the right organizations and kind of guide you along that way.”

ACSO says that it takes an average of seven times for someone to leave a violent relationship. Through organizations like Peaceful Paths or directly through the Sheriff’s Office, victims of domestic violence can find refuge.