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Sheriff tries to help domestic violence victims

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The Marion County Sheriff’s Office debuted a new program called Surviving Harmful Interactions through Electronic Location Devices (S.H.I.E.L.D.) on Monday. S.H.I.E.L.D. is an effort to provide enhanced security to domestic violence victims and to decrease the amount of reported domestic violence activity in Marion County. This electronic GPS monitoring system will be placed on domestic violence offenders as ordered by a judge as a part of the pre-trial conditions set during their bond hearing. Each offender will be instructed during an audio recorded interview where their exclusionary zone will be and will agree to the exclusionary zone to ensure the offender stays a safe distance away from the victim.
If an offender enters the exclusionary zone as expressed to him/her by the judge assigned to their case and reiterated by MCSO, the GPS monitoring system will alert the Marion County Public Safety Communication Center, when dispatchers will then send two patrol deputies: one to the offender and one to the victim.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is modeled after similar programs in Pinellas and Seminole counties, where officials in those jurisdictions have confirmed their success in using a domestic violence offender monitoring system.
In Marion County, deputies respond to an average of 1,900 domestic violence calls per year. Six homicides MCSO worked in 2014 were attributed to domestic violence and two of the homicides thus far in 2015 were also a result of domestic violence. There have been 61 domestic violence related homicides in Marion County in the past 10 years. This is why Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair says the county needs this extra layer of protection for our victims.
“Our job as law enforcement officers is to protect the victims and S.H.I.E.L.D. is just another tool that will help us do that,” said Sheriff Blair. “One of my main goals since I’ve been Sheriff is to focus on crime prevention. S.H.I.E.L.D. will allow us to be ever present for our victims so we can do everything humanly possible to keep them safe.”