Policy could help Syracuse Police prosecute more domestic violence cases

Nov 11, 2013

Syracuse Police have started a new policy that could help crack domestic violence cases, called the CODE, or Chronic Offender Domestic Enforcement, program.

Rebecca Thompson has answered countless domestic violence calls in her 27 years as a member of the Syracuse Police Department. Now as deputy chief of the uniformed bureau, she said she knows how it is a very personal crime, and sometimes, victims don't want to testify against a loved one, which can make it harder for prosecutors to make a case.

"For a variety of reasons, either societal, or personal, a victim is either unable or unwilling to follow through prosecution," Thompson said. "We're trying to take some of that burden away, and put it back on us so we can make better cases and move forward."

With an eye toward more prosecutions, the policy allows the police to do what they do best, gather evidence.

"[The CODE program] looks at certain criteria and calls for an enhanced evidence-based case by the police, which includes photos, 911 tapes, statements, database checks, just trying to cover all our bases so it gives the DA's office a better chance of prosecution with or without the victim," Thompson said.

Thompson said the program hasn't been in place long enough to show any results, but local domestic violence agencies believe it's a step towards keeping victims safe from chronic offenders