Domestic Violence Initiative Helping Tulsa Victims
TULSA, Oklahoma - In 2017, Tulsa Police started a new initiative to cut down on the number of domestic homicides, and it’s paying off.
When officers get to a scene involving domestic violence, officers hand victims a small card saying what to do if they’ve been strangled.
Many of those victims don’t like to tell officers at that moment that they have been strangled, so a lot of them come forward later.
Since TPD started this initiative, they say the number of arrests have doubled. They’ve also put more people behind bars.
"I think they’ve done a great job and I think our stats show it," said Sergeant Clay Asbill, who works with the Family Violence Unit at Tulsa Police Department.
Tulsa Police Department started their Domestic Strangulation initiative in late 2017 after seeing more victims dying from the prolonged impact of domestic strangulation.
“It’s not uncommon for the victims to come in here and the nurse will say you need to go to the hospital right now,” said Sgt. Asbill.
In the past year the number of reported strangulations has nearly doubled, from 494 in 2017 to 700 in 2018.
The number of arrests also went from 146 in 2017 to 289 in 2018.
"What we’ve done is just informed our victims better and they are coming forward a lot more," said Sgt. Asbill.
Tulsa Police Officers were dispatched to nearly 21,000 domestic related calls last year, and Sergeant Asbill says usually at least two of those calls a day are for domestic strangulation. This number may seem startling, but that is down from 2017.
“The majority of these strangulation arrests are uniform officers out there in the field going on those domestic calls," said Sgt. Asbill.
Sergeant Asbill says the number of warrants they've issued has also doubled, because a lot of times suspects leave the scene.
One of those warrants was for 42-year-old Jeremy Edmonds who U.S. Marshals shot and killed on Monday when they say he became violent.
“They'll commit the act on their domestic partner, strangle them and then when police are called the perpetrator leaves,” said Asbill.
There are also more people behind bars for domestic strangulation.
In 2018, 408 people were charged in Tulsa County, compared to 230 in 2017. This number includes TPD’s arrests along with Broken Arrow, Owasso, Bixby, Jenks and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
“That is our officers out there in the field doing that every day,” said Sgt. Asbill. “They know what to look for and they’ve done a great job this past year and continue to do so.”
Tulsa Police also works closely with the Family Safety Center, which is located on the first floor of the department.
Last year, they helped get more than 3,000 emergency protective orders granted for clients.