The Fifth Judicial District has a specialized unit that supervises domestic abuse offenders or offenders that have crimes of this nature. This unit was developed out of a grant that started in July of 1997 through 2001. It focused on the Enhanced Domestic Abuser. From the research that was conducted, it was determined that Polk County needed specialized officers to handle these cases.
Officers handle Domestic Abuse cases at the Intensive Supervision Level (caseloads of approximately 45) and the Traditional Levels of intensive and normal for the majority of the offender’ (average caseloads of 80).
The Domestic Abuse Unit’s duties mirror other Intensive Supervision Officers or Traditional Officers plus emphasis on the following:
Working in collaboration with community agencies to include but not limited to Children and Families of Iowa (CFI) Domestic Abuse intervention program, Des Moines Police Department (DART, Domestic Abuse Response Team), an onsite advocate from the Family Violence Center, and the County Attorney’s office. These officers Chair positions with the Domestic Abuse Coordinating Council and or attend monthly meetings with the Domestic Abuse Coordinating Council.
Officers shall employ best practices in holding offenders accountable by immediately imposing graduated sanctions that vary in intensity based on the violations and the safety of the victim. No Contact orders shall be enforced by checking on the victim’s safety either through home visits, phone calls, or the use of advocates. Officers must employ sanctions and hold offenders accountable immediately with graduate intensity depending on violations.
Officers working in this unit shall follow department procedures and standards as set out for Intensive and Traditional Probation/Parole. In addition to those procedures and standards the Domestic Abuse Unit shall: