Northwest NEWS

November 1, 1999

Front Page

Duvall P.D. recognized for domestic violence program

Mobile Data Computer

Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey demonstrates the department's new Mobile Data Computer (next to the steering wheel). The computer allows the officer to type in names or license numbers and receive information about the subject or vehicle almost immediately. Akey was recently honored for his work with domestic violence cases.
Staff photo by Lisa Allen.

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey and four other area officers were honored last month by the King County Prosecutor's Office for their work with victims of domestic violence.

   Akey, a 13-year veteran of the department, received the 1999 Law Enforcement Professionalism Award at a ceremony at the King County Courthouse on Oct. 20. The officers were selected for recognition by victim advocates who work with victims, officers, and the court system in King County.

   Police Chief Glenn Merryman said the award reflects the work the department has done in the area of domestic violence over the recent years. It was about four years ago, Merryman said, that the city police department decided to take a more corrective role in dealing with domestic violence.

   To achieve that aim, the department decided to take several actions, he said. They contracted with Ward Urion, a domestic violence advocate, and created their own municipal ordinance that allows them to file charges through the city rather than the state. The city now has its own prosecutor who works with misdemeanor cases that are filed through Northeast District Court and are heard on Duvall's "court night."

   "That gives us greater latitude and opportunities for us to be involved in the process," said Merryman. "We have really made a mission of domestic violence."

   Akey says his job as a primary responder to domestic violence calls is to protect the victim. He acts as a coordinator between the staff, the victim, and the court system. "It gives us a personal touch, and a direct link between the victim and the court," he said.

   Merryman said he is pleased with the recognition. "We didn't set out to be noticed," he said. "But it is a high honor for a small agency such as ours to be recognized by the larger law enforcement community."

   Domestic violence calls are particularly hazardous to police officers who are entering a potentially volatile situation. For that reason, two officers are required to respond.

   "We are going into a home where we don't know the people, and there may be weapons there," Merryman said. "A quick response is critical. We want to get there while the argument is still verbal."

   Akey said that on average, the city has about two physical assaults per month.

   Merryman said because the city has grown so much over the last several years, it was necessary to take steps toward dealing with the ever-increasing problem.

   "We can show a significant positive response to our efforts," he said. "We can respond more efficiently, have better trained officers, and can provide better assistance to victims."

   Other officers honored included Donna Rorvik and Phil Goguen of the Kirkland Police Department, Rande Christiansen of the Seattle Police Department, and Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff's Office.

   King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng said at the ceremony that progress is made every year in the handling of domestic violence cases. "The teamwork of police, prosecutors and victim advocates enables us to prosecute domestic violence cases effectively," he said. "The preservation of evidence, the gentle handling of victims, and the testimony at trial is crucial to moving these cases forward. We are recognizing these five police officers for their efforts and for performing outstanding work in domestic violence investigations."

   The annual event coincided with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.