XENIA — Members of local law enforcement were honored Oct. 4 for their response to domestic violence calls this year and the support and services they provide daily to victims and their families.
According to Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC) Executive Director Debbie Matheson, from 2015 to 2016 there was a 14 percent increase in domestic violence cases that law enforcement responded to in Greene County.
“That’s a pretty significant increase in the community and law enforcement was right there to effectively respond,” she said.
Matheson said out of the reported 7,215 women aged 15-18 in Greene County, more than an estimated 530-580 of them are experiencing physical violence in their dating relationships.
“It’s common. It’s consequential because the effects on victims are both mental and physical,” she said.
The Law Enforcement Excellence in Service Awards Ceremony, held at the Department of Job and Family Services, honored four individuals in particular.
Xenia Greene Central Communications Center Dispatcher Jackie Foster was awarded for taking numerous domestic violence calls and always providing support for victims.
Officer Jon Matheny, Fairborn Police Department, was honored for his work in the patrol bureau, particularly for his dedication to domestic violence cases and the compassion and empathy he has shown toward victims and suspects alike.
Deputy Kevin Banks from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office received the award for his involvement in more than seven domestic violence cases this past year. He was nominated for his immediate and effective responses, but also for the kindness he has shown toward victims.
Xenia Police Division Officer Chad Kelley was nominated after responding to a large number of cases in Xenia. He was awarded for his quality of work, listening skills, and thorough investigations, one which led to a prosecution of felonious assault.
During the award ceremony, Sargent Naomi Watson from the Yellow Springs Police Department also spoke about new training and tools that are being provided to all of the police departments in the county through efforts of the Fairborn Beavercreek Victim Assistance Program.
Officers will be now be able to provide measuring tapes to victims of non-fatal strangulation. These victims will be able to use the tape to monitor the swelling in their necks and to know when and if they need to seek further medical attention.
“It’s giving them a little bit more control in their situation,” Watson said. “It’s not only helping them mentally, but physically, emotionally and medically.”
According to Wendy Ricks-Hoff, director of Xenia’s victim assistance program, victims may experience vocal changes and swelling after non-fatal strangulation. But for some, there may be serious internal injuries that might not be apparent, and even the amount of swelling is difficult to notice in the neck area. Strangulation can sometimes lead to stroke or death, Ricks-Hoff said, which is why this tool is not only empowering, but important.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.