Imager Takes Aim at Domestic Violence

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Imager Takes Aim at Domestic Violence

Prince Frederick, MD - 3/15/2013

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By Marty Madden

Calvert County law enforcement now has use of a revolutionary forensics investigation tool, thanks to the efforts of Safe Harbor Incorporated. That entity is citizens groups providing stewardship to the county’s 22-year-old shelter for women and children who are victimized by domestic violence.

On Thursday, March 14, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, Safe Harbor Incorporated, the Health Department’s Crisis Intervention Center and the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office gave the local press a chance to see the recently purchased Krimesite Imager and how it will assist police in the often difficult work of gathering evidence in domestic violence investigations.

The purchase price of the imager was $15,000. Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura Martin [R] indicated the new technology will be invaluable in gathering evidence that is likely to hold up in court. In cases where an accused assaulter allegedly tries to strangle the victim, some of the forensic evidence of the crime is difficult for investigators to document. In court, it’s often the word of the accuser against the word of the accused regarding strangulation attempts. Krimesite Imager appears to negate that problem.

“Now it’s going to be clear crisp photographs of finger prints,” said Martin.

“It takes away the ‘he said, she said’ and shows the judge a real good photograph,” said Safe Harbor Inc. Board of Directors Member Ed Apple. “We thought it would be valuable to us.”

The process of examining a domestic violence incident survivor will now be less troubling for both the victim and the investigators.

“I think it [examination] is going to be a lot quicker and a lot more comfortable,” said Crime Scene Technician Greg Crump, who added the imager will be used for other investigations where fingerprints need to be found.

According to David Gale of Crisis Intervention, the Maryland Network of Domestic Violence approached Calvert officials about starting a “strangulation team” similar to one in Baltimore County with the aim to aid law enforcement and prosecutors.

“We met with the Baltimore County team and started the process,” said Gale. Subsequently, representatives from Crisis Intervention, the Sheriff’s and the State’s Attorney’s offices, and Calvert Memorial Hospital approached Safe Harbor Inc. about the purchase of an imager. About a year later a vendor was identified and the purchase was made.

“We can’t do anything without the support of the community,” said Linda Kelley, a former county commissioner who is a member of the Safe Harbor Inc. Board of Directors.

“Any tool that helps us serves the citizens we’ll take,” said Sheriff Mike Evans [R]. “I’m sure we’re going to make good use of it. We wish we didn’t have to use it but domestic violence isn’t going to stop.”

Sgt. Timothy Fridman of the Calvert Investigative Team indicated that while domestic violence remains a scourge in the county, local law enforcement is making progress in making sure the perpetrators pay the price for their crimes. “Officers are asking the right questions and victims are reporting it,” Fridman said.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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