Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 11:34 a.m.
It’s the police department’s number one call for service, the number on reason for SWAT standoffs and the driving force behind more than half our murders. Officers like Ericka Rose and Erin Johnson respond to domestic violence calls every day.
“They’re almost always in-progress type calls. Emotions are running high. It’s people who are related for the most part or live together,” said Johnson of the Airway Heights Police Department.
Detectives who work for Spokane’ Regional Domestic Violence Unit warn without intervention; abusive relationships are slow moving homicides. They say the only way to avoid that deadly steam-roller is to pull victims out of the way.
“You see women and children and sometimes men in a situation where a loved one, who is supposed to be protecting them, has hurt them and it pulls at your heart strings. It makes you feel bad for them,” said Rose who is also and Airway Heights officer.
Rose was recently recognized with an award for responding to a domestic violence call and not only removing the victim from a dangerous situation, but Rose went the extra mile enforcing the no contact order and making sure the victim felt confident and safe enough to testify against her abuser.
“Sometimes they just want to talk about it. They want someone to listen so sometimes you just sit down on the couch and let them talk to you. Because they want you to know what they are going through. They want to be heard. They want to be understood,” explained Rose.
October is Domestic Violence Action month. The YWCA and its partners are urging the Spokane community to “End the Silence” about domestic violence.
Officers Johnson and Rose know one out of every four women will be a victim of domestic violence and they’ve decided to call attention to the problem by dying their hair purple.
“Purple symbolizes courage and emotional strength and healing as we like to see with domestic violence victims who are able to recover from their wounds,” Johnson said.
And so recently, inside the Vivid Salon, the officers asked stylists to dye their hair with matching shades of violet.
The sergeant in charge of the Spokane Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit showed up to show his support for the head turning tactic.
“There are so many victims of domestic violence that we never hear about or hear from bec
ause they are ashamed, they’re embarrassed. There’s all sorts of reason. So the more we can get people comfortable talking about it and getting the word out, the more when can put a stop to it,” predicted Ferguson.
The Spokane YWCA wants your help to “End the Silence” about domestic violence.
Now, these officers’ temporary hairdos are sure to speak volumes while they’re out on patrol.
“I think it’s certainly going to be interesting and fun. I think a lot of people are going to ask why our hair is purple and it will open the door for communication with the public and they’ll see how passionate we are about seeing domestic violence end in our community,” Rose said.