Radford Police see LAP success, Pulaski Police implements program

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PULASKI, Va. April 26 — Teaming up: Both the Radford Police Department and the Pulaski Police Department work with the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley using LAP. Photo: Samantha Hill

While the Radford Police Department compiles its data from its inaugural year of the Lethality Assessment Program, or LAP, the Pulaski Police Department is beginning its first year.

As the News Feed previously reported, the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) started the LAP in 2005, and it is now used in 34 states. The program provides potential domestic violence victims with resources in the event that police suspect danger, but can’t make an arrest.

Through the program, the police department fills out a form and connects the potential victim with a local women’s center. The Women’s Resource Center can then educate those involved and discuss legal options.

Pat Brown, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, says the Radford Police Department filled out 59 forms. Out of the 59, 33 were labeled as high danger screens. Twenty-nine of the 33 spoke with an advocate on the scene and seven went into services like non-residential counseling or shelter. Ten high danger people reported being threatened with a weapon.

Lt. Andy Wilburn with the Radford Police Department said these numbers do not include forms that are incomplete or victims that refused to answer questions.

After to the success of the LAP, the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley is now working with the Pulaski Police Department to set up their LAP.

“Basically, our patrol officers, when they respond to a situation of intimate partner violence, they’re to ask the victim specific questions that are spelled out,” Megan Jennings, an officer with the Pulaski Police Department, said. “We have a form to kind of assess whether or not they would be in danger of further violence, heavier violence.”

The LAP was fully implemented in Pulaski in early April. The police department has been working with the Women’s Resource Center for over a year on their application to the program, and the officers received MNADV training last fall.

Jennings said several police officers have already responded and filled out LAP forms. The attorney general’s office also provided officers with cell phones for victims to contact the necessary hotlines to receive help.

She believes this program will be successful in Pulaski.

“Our chief is a driving force behind it. He wants his officers to provide the best service we can to our citizens, and this program is kind of a natural progression in our department’s commitment to better serve our citizens,” said Jennings.