Domestic violence calls often dangerous for law enforcement

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Family Services of Winston-Salem believes recent shootings involving area law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence calls is further proof that domestic violence is a serious problem impacting the entire community.

Just this week a Dobson Police officer was shot twice early Monday. Officer Brian Thomas and is recovering at home. 

Thursday, Watagua County Deputy William Mast was shot to death after responding to a domestic violence related call.

According to "Police Chief" the magazine, an officer is injured in one out of every three domestic violence related calls.

DeWanna Hamlin of Family Services in Winston-Salem thinks domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous officers respond to because of the unperceived dangers.

"I think it is the unknown.  Not knowing what to expect, not knowing what weapons are going to be involved, and not knowing who is behind those closed doors," said Hamlin.

Recent Federal Statistics show since 1996, roughly 100 officers in the United States were killed responding to domestic violence related calls. Hundreds more were injured.

"When the abuser feels like he or she is losing power or control over the situation that is generally when see more serious domestic violence or explosion so to speak,"  said Hamlin.

Sadly, Hamlin and other domestic violence experts believe most of the deaths related to domestic violence could be prevented if people better understood the warning signs and were willing to report it.

 "Even when there is not a history of involvement with law enforcement, generally the assault we hear about is not the first time domestic violence has happened," said Hamlin.

Winston-Salem's Family Services offers a 24 hour crisis hotline for domestic victims. The number is (336)723-8125.

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