Police Chief and District Attorney improve response to domestic violence incidents

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HPD and District Attorney improve response to domestic violence incidents (KTRK)

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced changes to procedures in response to family violence incidents Wednesday morning.

"Domestic violence is a problem to this city," Chief Art Acevedo said.

During the press conference, Acevedo says there were 43 domestic violence murders reported in Houston in 2017.

From 2013 until 2017 the Houston Police Department averaged about a nine percent increase in domestic violence reports over the years.

"That's a good thing. We want victims to step forward. Our focus is on the victims, and that is the focus on HPD's new policy," Acevedo said.

The Houston Police Department's new policy, which is effective immediately, states that an officer should request the presence of an on-duty supervisor to the scene when all of the following applies:

1. The suspect is on the scene.
2. A warrantless arrest is not made for an offense of family violence.

3. Bodily injury, a threat of bodily injury or any threatening behavior.

"This is happening because we care about families. We want the victims to know we make arrests in domestic violence situations," Acevedo said.

In 2017, the Harris County District Attorney's office filed 6,905 domestic violence cases and 2,900 were felonies.

"The solutions are not that difficult. Train our officers, train our lawyers and get better evidence to keep bails high," Ogg said.

The District Attorney's office received a $75,000 grant from the Texas Council on family violence to create a high-risk task team force.
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