Police Responses to Battered Women
Past, Present, and Future
ALBERT R. ROBERTS
It was 1400 hours on September 6, 2010. Two police officers were dispatched on a report of a domestic violence complaint. Upon arriving at the scene, the officers spoke to the victim, Wilma R. She stated that her boyfriend, Louis, had been drinking the night before and became involved in an argument with her that ended with his punching her in the face and strangling her. The officers observed that Wilma had a cut on her upper lip and swelling in the area between her nose and mouth.
When the police officers questioned Louis, he said he never touched Wilma. He insisted that the bruises on her face resulted from her being clumsy and falling down the steps while carrying the laundry. He said she was making up the story of being beaten because she was angry at him for staying out late with his buddies the previous night.
To determine whether or not Louis had strangled his girlfriend, the police officers went to the car and brought in the compact portable laser unit. By aiming the laser at Wilma's neck, the first officer immediately obtained laser fingerprints, which he compared with Louis's. The results showed an identical match. While the first officer was matching the fingerprints, the second officer went to the car and turned on the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) computer to run a criminal history on Louis. In less than 30 seconds, Louis's history appeared on the screen: two prior convictions for simple assault against a former girlfriend and resisting arrest. The incidents had occurred