Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Level The Playing Field in Officer Involved Intimate Partner Crimes Before A Homicide

Barbara Vanaman was a wife of a veteran police officer in Millville, NJ. She lost her life while
in the midst of ending an abusive marriage. Her police Sergeant husband came from a long line
of law enforcement officers. He claimed self-defense, after he opened fire on her shooting her,

Afterwards, he cut himself with a large kitchen knife, claiming self-defense, and buying the Sergeant a pity
party from fellow officers and the community, and a crime scene that was never properly
documented or processed.

The Sergeant took a plea deal just before trial . On Wednesday, a judge may reduce the already
outrageous sentence initially imposed of nine years for her murder.

What can we learn from this tragedy?

There are other officer’s wives, as I write this, in New Jersey, living in fear. Uncertain of their future because of their violent and dangerous husbands who happen to be sworn commissioned law enforcement officers. What do we say to them? How do we offer a solution when their lives are hanging by a thread?

A human life was lost. Procedures in this case were passed over because the offender had a good reputation in the community. This case, from the start, was about blue defending blue.

But, what about red defending the red?

The life of Barbara Vanaman is now permanently marked by a headstone. There has to be a more level playing field of survival for victims of officer involved intimate partner violence leading to homicide.

Changing the landscape and leveling the playing field is something I have worked to achieve since my own mother’s officer involved murder in 1989. This case is but one example of how intimate partner homicides are handled across the country. When the wife of a law enforcement officer attempts to seek assistance she isn't supported, instead, she is spoken to by a commander or internal affairs. She is told that if charges are brought against the officer,  he will surely lose his job. From the start, the officer’s wife is "handled" as though it is her fault.

No victim services.

No opportunity to leave the relationship.

No automatic relief for the trauma suffered.

No real hope except to be made to look like an idiot.

An officer is trained, a wife or girlfriend is no match for the explosive waiting to detonate.

The best example is my own, as a daughter of a violent and dangerous law enforcement officer.The lessons learned have saved thousands of lives, but the price continues to be high when I am unable to reach everyone prior to a tragedy.

Part of the solution begins with the Police Academy. There, you have an opportunity to change attitudes. Consequences for actions need to be a mandate among cadets, not lip service. Bring in the wives and girlfriends and teach them techniques that will aid in disarming a potentially life threatening situation. Give them information and materials to use should something happen, where they can go that is safe. In this information provide the prescription available in the "Time's Up book.

I am asking for a change at leveling a field for the wives of officers whose pleas for assistance have fallen on deaf ears. Respectfully, in the line of duty, an officer's funeral is held in the highest regard. For the funeral of a police officers wife, in my opinion, often killed with their husband's service revolver, her life holds the same honor.

Barbara Vanaman was killed in the line of duty as a wife, mother and victim, all because she wanted to move on, minus the violence.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit included in the book "Time's Up"

An “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" and video has the additional psychological benefit of being forced to face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be held accountable.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit: A Victim’s Voice (c)(TM)(R)

Domestic violence or intimate partner victims now are able to provide information, in their own words, about the fears, dangers, experiences they have had at the hands of their abuser. The" Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" or "EAA" records victim's stories, histories, and experiences which are preserved and stored on their behalf. These videos will provide answers to the many questions, allegations, and fears that arise when a person has disappeared, gone missing, or been found dead.

In relationships it is important to equip one's self with the proper tools before announcing "it is over." That, is what cost Bea Dickey her life. Unfortunately, hers life mirrors thousand of others across the county, victims of intimate partner violence, trying to break away from their abusive relationships with their lives in tact.

If Beatrice Dickey, or any woman found murdered or is reported missing, had done an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, ON TAPE, from following the information in the “Time’s Up" book ,they would be able to describe:

- threats made against her life or wellbeing, including details of how the perpetrator would carry out the threat
- incidents of past abuse that the victim has endured
- admissions or comments made to her about other victims or people abused
- where evidence or weapons would or could be located
- possible alibis that the perpetrator would make up in his defense (including identification of people who could be co-defendant’s or co-suspects)
- portray visible injuries or marks

Just think if we incorporate the only effective plan in the country and have it available for every prosecutor, law enforcement, church, family law office and social service agency across the country, lives would be saved.

Through our corporate and security technology partners we bring the proprietary training to you and your company. And you can now be trained and certified to provide the "EAA" for your clients or within your law enforcement and legal communities or private company. If you are in law enforcement, private investigations, a lawyer practicing in family related matters including custody, a social worker, medical care provider, human resource or are with an employee assistance program or a direct insurer such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Zurich N.A., AIG, Anthem, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, AllState or Travelers.

Below is the video example of what someone does as they prepare:

If you are in a relationship that has a history of violence, simply mustering up the courage to confront the person and say it is over, without the proper tools, can cost you, your life!


Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is a specialist with intimate partner violence cases and prevention strategies and high risk cases and available for personal consultations through the Institute. She is also part of the team atManagement Resources Limited of New York.

Susan is the author of "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships,"Moving out, Moving on, and Defending Out Lives. Susan is the host ofThe Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host on Crime Wire.

If you would like to schedule Susan Murphy Milano for interviews, please contact: ImaginePublicity PO BOX 14946 Surfside Beach, SC 29587 Phone: 843.808.0859 email- contact@imaginepublicity.com

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