DELAWARE STATE POLICE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
Cpl/3 Adrienne Owen
The Delaware State Police Domestic Violence Unit was
established in December 1996. The Domestic Violence Unit
members are staffed at each of the three criminal
investigation troops. Sergeant John Maher is in charge of
the unit at Troop 2, Sergeant David Weaver at Troop 3, and
Sergeant Brian Conlin at Troop 4. The units are under the
direction of the Domestic Violence Policy/Training
Coordinator, Sergeant Scott McCarthy, who is assigned to
Headquarters. The criminal investigation unit administrators
supervise daily investigative functions and personnel issues
for unit members at their troops. Unit members are available
twenty-four hours a day to respond to critical or
The primary objective of the unit is to review domestic incidents investigated by patrol officers to identify relationships at risk. The unit investigates serious domestic violence cases, conducts follow-up investigations, makes appropriate referrals to advocates, and promotes victim awareness of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Unit Coordinator collaborates with the Victim Services Unit, the Attorney General’s Office, the Delaware Division of Probation and Parole, the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and other advocacy groups to ensure the safety of all involved and hold the offender accountable. The coordinator is also responsible for instructing recruits, providing in-service training on domestic violence, and developing policy to ensure victim safety. Unit members also serve on multi-disciplinary committees to address issues of domestic violence fatalities, legislation, training, and child protection.
In 2009, the Domestic Violence Unit was awarded a federal grant to train law enforcement officers both in state and out of state. The Delaware State Police hosted two one day seminars for law enforcement officers and advocates on the topic of sexual assault. The first seminar was on June 1st in Rehoboth and second one was held on June 2nd in Newark. The training was attended by 81 law enforcement officers and 33 advocates. The Delaware State Police also hosted a one day conference on strangulation. This conference took place at the Dover Downs Hotel/Conference Center on December 7, 2009. This conference was attended by 130 law enforcement officers with the remaining 70 attendees consisting of prosecutors, judges, forensic nurses, forensic interviewers, advocates, and a 911 dispatcher. Three Delaware officers also attended the 9th Annual family Justice Center in Cosa Mesa, CA. from April 21st to April 23rd.
In March of 2009 Troop-3 was chosen to pilot the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The goal of the Lethality Assessment Program for first responders is to prevent domestic homicides, serious injury, and re-assault by encouraging more victims to utilize the support and shelter services of domestic violence programs. The LAP is a two pronged intervention process that features a research based screening tool and an accompanying protocol referral. In December of 2009 Troops 4, 5, and 7 were trained on the proper use of the LAP and have since started to implement this program for domestic violence investigations.
The Domestic Violence Unit along with the Victim Services Unit held the 6th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Motorcycle Ride that took place in May of 2009. During 2009, the Domestic Violence Unit received over 10,000 combined cases of criminal and non-criminal domestic incidents statewide for review, follow-up and referral.
- Information obtained from 2009 DSP Annual Report -