Special Reports

Forums to discuss domestic violence

Crystal Brame's death earlier this year highlighted possible dangers and problems surrounding domestic violence involving law enforcement officers.

Monday, more than 500 members of the criminal justice community, victims advocates and elected officials will gather at a daylong symposium in Burien to exchange ideas and learn more about the issue.

The sessions are free and open to the public.

Panelists will discuss different topics on domestic violence involving officers.

Among them are how to deal with victims reluctant to report an abusive partner to his or her department and friends, as well as what changes in the law might be proposed during next year's legislative session.

A domestic violence survivor will also talk about her experience with an abusive officer and how he was handled by his department.

"It's an opportunity for some real education and discussion," said Elaine Rose, an assistant attorney general. "The idea is to have the opportunity for an exchange of perspectives and recommendations."

The state Attorney General's Office helped organized the symposium in response to the high-profile homicide-suicide at the hands of Tacoma Police Chief David Brame.

He fatally shot his wife, Crystal, then committed suicide April 26 in Gig Harbor.

The two were entangled in a contentious divorce. She claimed he'd abused her for years and repeatedly made death threats.

"The Brame shooting certainly got a lot of us thinking about the issue," Rose said.

In the days after the shootings, the Attorney General's Office formed a work group to focus on officer-involved domestic violence.

The group came up with three initiatives - one being a statewide symposium. The group also put together a resource guide for law enforcement agencies and victims advocates.

In addition, the work group also plans to provide training next year to victims advocates and law enforcement agencies concerning officer-involved domestic violence.

"Every community has to deal with this on their own," Rose said.

Such incidents can provide more challenges because victims don't know where to go for help, Rose said.

"Victims are often reluctant to go to places where abusers have connections," she said.

At the symposium, two members of the Crystal Clear Initiative Committee will make a presentation.

The committee of Tacoma attorneys, police department representatives, elected officials and victims advocates has been researching domestic violence policies.

The committee has been working on a policy regarding officer-involved domestic violence for the department and the state.

Lawmakers are developing proposed legislation that would require all law enforcement agencies in the state to have a policy on officers who commit domestic violence.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268


What's on the agenda

• A keynote address from a victim of officer-involved domestic violence

• Perspectives on the problem; panelists will include a prosecuting attorney, a police chief, a police officer and victims advocates

• A look at legislative issues; panelists will be state legislators from Pierce County

• What have we learned and where do we go from here? Presentations will be made by the Crystal Clear Committee, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and Clark County.

If you go

What: Symposium on officer-involved domestic violence

Who: Law enforcement agencies, elected officials, victim advocate groups, prosecutors and others affected by the issue

When: From 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday

Where: State Criminal Justice Training Center, 19010 First Ave. S. in Burien

Cost: Free

How to attend: People can register at the door Monday

On theNet: www.