Nevada

How a Domestic Violence Database Can Prevent Rise in Utah Violence

 

The bill, which received unanimous support from the committee on Tuesday, would create a police database of domestic violence cases, with authorized officers assessing the safety of victims.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Shauna Maine (right) hugs Lieutenant Governor Deirdre Henderson (center) after speaking before the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Affairs Committee in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Henderson and Main came out in support of a Senate bill that strengthens the state’s measures to combat domestic violence. Maine’s daughter Amanda was killed in 2022. On the left is Maine’s sister Brenda Hulse Burr.

It’s not every day you see a sitting lieutenant governor testify in support of a bill, but this was a personal one for Utah Lieutenant Governor Deirdre Henderson.

Sitting next to her aunt and uncle, Henderson expressed her support for a bill in the Utah Senate that would create a police database on domestic violence cases and also require police officers to ask a series of questions to victims of domestic violence.

“We’re trying to target, reduce and eliminate intimate partner killings,” Henderson said. “That’s what we’re trying to do with this bill.”

The bill, SB117, was passed unanimously on Tuesday during a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. The bill is currently being submitted to the Utah Senate for consideration.

Henderson has a personal connection to the bill. Last August, her cousin Mandy Maine was shot dead by her ex while she was waiting at a bus stop in Taylorsville.

Kent and Shauna Maine, Mandy’s parents, spoke out Tuesday in support of the bill, which is sponsored by Senator Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. Weiler’s bill took months to develop.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lieutenant Governor Deirdre Henderson appears before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Henderson spoke in support of a Senate bill against How does the government fight domestic violence? With Henderson are Kent and Shauna Maine, whose daughter Amanda was killed in 2022.

SB117 will create a database for the police about past cases of domestic violence and calls to the police, even if those calls did not result in criminal charges.

The bill also requires police to ask survivors a series of questions, called the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), to determine their potential danger. If someone is thought to be in danger, the police will direct them to potentially life-saving resources, including emergency shelters, counseling and other options. The LAP is already being used in Utah, as Weiler said Tuesday that about half of the state’s police departments are already using the tool.

The Maines addressed the committee during Tuesday’s hearing, both sitting next to Henderson. Kent Mayne told the committee that his daughter’s killer, Taylor Martin, threatened Maine and her boyfriend at their workplace just days before the murder. Police were called to the workplace and Martin was not arrested, Kent Maine told the committee.

Martin was already a convicted felon but was able to buy a gun shortly after the incident at Mandy Maine’s workplace. A few days later he shot her.

“We fully support the mandatory lethality assessment bill presented to you,” Kent Maine told the committee.

He added that the police were not doing a fatality assessment when they were called to work for his daughter.

“We don’t know if a case-fatality assessment would have saved Mandy,” Kent Maine said, “but it was definitely a missed opportunity for some kind of further intervention that could have saved her and given her the resources she needs to stay safe.” “.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kent Maine holds a photo of his daughter Amanda during a speech before the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Maine and Lieutenant. Gov. Deirdre Henderson has supported a Senate bill that strengthens the state’s response to domestic violence.

In addition to Maines and Henderson, several law enforcement officials spoke out in support of the bill during the hearings.

Rep. Tyler Clancy, R-Provo, was among the cops who praised the LAP. Clancy, an officer in Provo who was recently assigned to Utah House, said he used LAP questions while on the job, saying the LAP uniform helps prevent victims from slipping away.

“The LAP shape is very powerful,” Clancy said. “It’s efficient. It’s a proven tool and will be really helpful for victims across the state.”

Among those who sat in the committee hearing was Jess Anderson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety. Last month, he expressed his support for The Salt Lake Tribune’s bill.

As of Tuesday, it was unclear when the bill could be put to a vote in the Senate.

Editor’s note • For those who experience intimate partner violence or know someone who has experienced violence, it is strongly recommended that you call Utah’s Domestic Violence Helpline, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the Utah Domestic Violence Helpline. Rape and Sexual Harassment in Utah, 1-888. -421-1100.

If you or people you know are at risk of harming yourself, call or text 988 to contact Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s 24/7 support.

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