HOLMES BEACH -- Domestic violence can impact everyone, even law enforcement and correctional officers.
That’s why Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine has been working since 2009 on a domestic violence prevention program for the law enforcement community.
He’s been integral in the development of the Law Enforcement Families Partnership program with the Institute for Family Violence Studies at Florida State University.
The cornerstone of the project is a free, online curriculum that teaches officers how to keep their homes free of violence, and emphasizes healthy families and relationships.
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“We interviewed a lot of officers and found if they even feel they are struggling, whether it be an anger issue, problems at home or anything like that, they are a little less inclined to seek out help than the average citizen would be,” Romine said.
He said those in uniform often feel they are supposed to be out there fixing those problems and have an attitude that they are not supposed to be faced with the same problems.
“I think it’s hard for them to deal with the fact that you have the same problems everyone else has,” Romine said. “You have family issues like everybody else.”
Recently, the Verizon Foundation awarded the Institute for Family Violence Studies $50,000 to continue its work on the partnership program in 2012, according to Karen Oehme, director for the institute.
Those going through the program can expect to learn from several modules that go over issues such as warning signs, tips on separating work from home life and how there is no code of silence when it comes to domestic violence.
“It tells you how to deal with it and it gives you many options on how to get through it,” Romine said. “It’s a very well done training module.”
Since its inception, more than 30,000 criminal justice officers have taken the online training in Florida, Romine said
Oehme and Romine, along with others who have worked on the project, have seen a positive outcome from those who have completed the course.
“Officers from other states want us to take this program national,” Oehme said.
Romine said he would like to see every law enforcement and correctional officer get this training in Florida.
“What I would love to see is this training be a part of the basic recruit curriculum, so every officer when they come through the academy will have it,” he said.