Tulsa County’s court system will be able to teach other courts across the country how to better respond to domestic violence cases.
Tulsa County received a two-year Domestic Violence Mentor Court Technical Assistance Initiative grant from The Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women to be a domestic violence mentor court.
"Essentially learning was working for other jurisdictions that are similar in size and population to Tulsa," said Judge Kelley Greenough. “Implementing the good part of that and then also learning from their mistakes, so that hopefully we’re not reinventing the wheel quite so much."
Judge Greenough is the Chief Judge of the Family Division and said Tulsa has already been setting the standard for years with their unique domestic violence court dockets.
"It has been something that has been a goal that we wanted to see happen. It's really nice to be one of a dozen courts around the country that have this designation," Greenough said.
Greenough said Tulsa was very appealing because the city is set in the middle of the country, making cross-country travel easy. Grant money will go to organizations across Tulsa County including the Family Safety Center. Executive Director Suzann Stewart said the grant will help train other courts in person and over the internet and host on-site visits.
"We're giving them pointers on the tools that we use to hold offenders accountable, how offenders may plead into that docket for misdemeanors or for felonies," Steward said. "Now the mentor grant recognizes that this is the best practice, and that our community is seeing results to reduce violence overall with people participating in this program."
In August, the Department of Justice awarded Tulsa organizations with an $8 million domestic violence grant. Judge Greenough said the new funds will be a game-changer.
"It’s an acumination that we are doing something right, and that they believe in the projects that we are doing, and they want to help us do the work we are doing here in Tulsa County," Greenough said.
The grant went into effect October 1 and amounts to $150,000 for two years. The Tulsa County District court has received $6000,000 total in the month of September.