KAKE News investigates Domestic Violence in Sedgwick CountyPosted: Updated:
Wichita Police Sergeant, Steven Yarberry, has been responding to domestic violence calls for years.
"We make a lot of domestic violence calls, and it's one of the most dangerous calls we can make," he says.
Yarberry has seen how the department can improve, and now, he's part of that change. WPD and other local leaders are working around the clock to get victims the help they need.
"I am just not going to stop. I am not going to stop talking about this issue," says Amanda Meyers, the Director of the Wichita Family Crisis Center.
Meyers says an audit, released in 2018, is helping the group understand how to better serve the community. The study identified 14 gaps, or areas where the city can improve.
"The audit report came out and then we really tried to flood this community with training," she says.
That's where the WPD comes in. One of the gaps included the way officers respond to DV calls and the investigation of the crimes. This year, the department is already making changes.
Patrol officers are now able to immediately determine if anyone experiencing abuse is in life-threatening danger, simply by asking more questions.
"Has he or she threatened to kill you or you children? Do you think he or she might try to kill you? Any of these questions, if that's a yes is an automatic trigger," says Yarberry.
Yarberry says a yes to any of these questions means an automatic call to someone who will immediately help the victim make a plan.
"That really decreases the chances that that victim will end up in a lethality or even that they will end up with further injury," says Meyers.
Meyers knows more work is needed, but she says these changes have already helped the community.