Published November 21 2011
Fargo police campaign to put domestic violence in spotlightFARGO – The Fargo Police Department is partnering with two local organizations in an attempt to reduce domestic violence by putting it in the public spotlight.
Television commercials will begin airing Tuesday as part of a public awareness campaign titled, “Domestic violence: It’s everyone’s business.”
Police Chief Keith Ternes said raising public awareness alone won’t solve the problem: His department also is dedicating a detective to deal exclusively with domestic violence incidents and develop “much more permanent solutions” to break the cycle of domestic violence.
Ternes said he knows some people perceive domestic violence as a private, family issue, and they will accuse police of being too intrusive.
“And I couldn’t disagree any more with that perspective,” Ternes said, adding, “Simply being reactive is not the solution.”
Domestic violence is on the rise in Fargo, he said, pointing to a substantial increase in aggravated assaults, from 96 incidents in 2006 to 159 last year to 170 so far this year. Domestic violence incidents account for a majority of that increase, he said.
Greg Diehl, executive director of Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, which along with Prairie St. John’s is teaming up with police on the campaign, said the center has seen record caseloads the past two years. The caseload is up 15 percent since 2008, and the number of people seeking domestic violence services is up 27 percent during that time, he said.
One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, Diehl said, saying it’s “not just a women’s issue,” but a community issue.
Ternes said the police department has dedicated $8,000 from its crime prevention budget to fund the campaign, which also will include radio ads and billboards. The two partners are committing funds to offset the costs, he said.
Officials wore purple ribbons at a news conference today to kick off the campaign. The ribbons will be available at various locations in the community, police said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528