Domestic Violence Calls Dangerous to Police

Nestled between the agriculture and small town atmosphere, Archer County and the rest of Texoma has an unpleasant underside, domestic violence. On average, Archer County receives between 11 and 17 calls a month.

"Domestic violence calls are one of the most dangerous calls that law enforcement can take. You never know what you are getting into," says Archer City Police Chief Joe Burton.

In all of Chief Burton's years serving on the force, he recognizes how dangerous domestic disputes can be for the community and his officers. In fact, one law enforcement official who wished to remain nameless said the only time he's ever had to use deadly force was while responding to a domestic violence call.

"There is a lot of emotion involved at the time. We got to be really aware of what's going on around us," explains Burton.

Whenever a domestic violence call comes into archer county, dispatchers located at the Archer County Jail ask a detailed set of questions. Dispatchers want to ensure officers responding to the call are safe and prepared.

"One of the first questions they'll ask is, is he still there or is she still there," details Burton. "And then usually after that, are there weapons involved? Does he have guns? Are there weapons in the house?"

However descriptive the questions, officers always need to be alert just in case.

"Although you may go to the same call 10 times, you got to treat it like its the first time every time," says Burton, "That's usually when we get into trouble and where things have the potential of going bad for us because we kind of let our guard down."

For every call that comes into the county, at least 2 units will respond. No matter the jurisdiction, the city, county, and even state law enforcement officials work together to take control of the situation, while keeping everyone safe.

"We take them very serious and we work under the presumption of the more the better. and the more of us there are, the less chance there is that somebody can get hurt," explains the Chief.

There are some situations when officers can't wait for backup, though.

"We will go in. If life, limb, or property--especially life. We are going to do our job, whether we have backup or not. That's our first priority when we put on a badge is to protect and serve and that's what we're here for," says Burton.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6