#10. Community Police Academy – Domestic Violence

For 12 weeks, Sherard Edington is taking part in the Community Police Academy offered by the Nashville Police Department. Through lectures and demonstrations, he is learning about the inner workings of law enforcement in Davidson County. These are his reports.

Dear Friends,

The subject for this week’s class (our next-to-last class) was Domestic Violence—another of the weighty and complex topics that is a scourge on our communities that the police must deal with. Domestic Violence can be defined this way:

Violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives, and family friends.

The term ‘domestic violence’ is used when there is a close relationship between the offender and the victim. There is usually a power gap between them. The victim is dependent on the offender. Domestic violence can take the form of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Essentially, domestic violence is about power and control. It is pervasive across every social and economic level.

The department’s Domestic Violence Division has 16 detectives who handle thousands of cases each year. Cases range from simple assault (“He shoved me”) to homicide. In 2020, in Davidson County, the Domestic Violence Division investigated 12 murders, 1482 Aggravated Assaults, and 6161 Simple Assaults. Much of the work of this division focuses on education—teaching the public the signs of domestic violence. The department has developed plans for assisting victims.

The department also has the recently constructed Family Safety Center. The Center is located on Murfreesboro Road next to the Department’s headquarters. The largest facility of its type in the nation, the Center offers a safe and supportive environment for the victims of domestic and sexual violence, child and elder abuse, as well as human trafficking to receive free and confidential services from a variety of providers. Such services include counseling, orders of protection, shelter and food assistance, and more.

Once again, I was greatly impressed by the commitment, professionalism, and compassion demonstrated by the officers in confronting the blight of domestic violence.