MPD Launches Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Program

  • MPD Launches Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Program

    MPD Launches Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Program

    TGibbonsThe Martinsburg Police Department is pleased to announce a new program designed to identify and better serve victims of domestic violence within the community while simultaneously reducing the amount of time patrol officers spend responding to repeat domestic violence calls. Officer Teresa Gibbons has been named as the Martinsburg Police Department’s Domestic Violence Liaison Officer, and has already begun her work to provide new opportunities for victims of abusive relationships. Gibbons will serve in this liaison capacity while remaining as an officer on her assigned shift.

    In August, 2016 a female was brought to the Martinsburg Police Department by a close friend to seek help in putting an end to what had become an increasingly abusive relationship. The night before the female came to the police station, she had allegedly been strangled and threatened with a knife by her boyfriend. Officer Gibbons was not only able to bring charges against the boyfriend, but also leverage local resources to connect the victim with an advocate from the Shenandoah Women’s Center to help make sure that she would not have to return to the abusive relationship.

    “Unfortunately, in the United States, one in four women and one in seven men are experiencing some sort of domestic abuse or violence. Also unfortunately, out of love and a deeply abused sense of worth, those victims often do not cooperate with law enforcement which increases the likelihood of a repeat offense and escalation of abuse,” Officer Gibbons said. “My goal is to help victims understand that no one deserves to be assaulted and that they deserve to be treated with respect and attention.”

    MPD’s Domestic Violence Liaison Officer Program is launching in conjunction with the Shenandoah Women’s Center’s efforts to form a STOP team (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) that will implement a comprehensive strategy addressing domestic violence through victim advocacy and holding offenders accountable for their crimes. “We’re so excited to be working with the Martinsburg Police Department in this new capacity,” said Katie Spriggs, Program Director for the Shenandoah Women’s Center. “We’ve already seen how effective it is when victims realize that law enforcement is on their side and that this team wants to support them even if an arrest is not involved.”

    Chief Maury Richards was enthusiastic about Officer Gibbons’s work in her new role as Domestic Violence Liaison Officer. “Domestic violence destroys lives and ruins families. One of our Department’s important goals is to break the cycle of domestic violence through a coordinated response. Officer Teresa Gibbons is a tremendous officer will do a great job leading this effort,” stated Richards.

    “Teresa Gibbons is going to do a fantastic job in this role,” declared Deputy Chief Swartwood. “This is a very important mission and I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified.”

    If you or someone you know are the victim of an abusive domestic relationship, resources are available on the Martinsburg Police Department’s website at www.MartinsburgPD.org/domestic-violence. Officer Teresa Gibbons can be reached at t_gibbons@martinsburgpd.org or (304) 264-2100, however 911 should always be used to contact emergency services in the event of an active emergency.