Order of Protections Slow, Candidate Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Spencer Daily Herald Staff Writer

Lake County Sheriff's Police must act more quickly in serving orders of protection to safeguard victims of domestic violence, Lake County Sheriff candidate Willie Ray Smith charged Friday.

Smith said he would make serving orders of protection a top priority, assigning them to patrol officers if the warrants division cannot guarantee delivery within 48 hours.

A judge's order of protection, which often demands an abuser stay a specified distance away from a victim, is not in effect until the abuser receives the document stating the terms.

"It is critical that these are served immediately," said Smith, concerned that domestic violence victims are left at risk for days, waiting for police protection. In some more serious situations, attorneys for victims hire a private process server so the warrant is served more promptly.

Sheriff Gary Del Re responded Friday that orders of protection are already a high priority in his department, with 96 percent of the roughly 350 issued each month properly served in a timely fashion.

Del Re said Smith was fishing for issues that his record fails to back. Del Re serves on the board of directors of A Safe Place, Lake County's only shelter for battered women and children, and is a member of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. …