Friday, October 4, 2013

Maricopa Police begin training on strangulation detection

Detectives and patrol officers from the Maricopa Police Department have become the first in Pinal County to receive training on the signs and symptoms of strangulation as part of a new program initiated by the Pinal County Attorney's Office.

In three separate training sessions, MPD personnel will hear from nurses from the forensic nurse examiner unit within Scottsdale Healthcare. Among the signs and symptoms officers will learn to observe include changes in the victim’s voice, difficulty swallowing, a swollen tongue or neck, changes in the victims mental state – highly emotional, PTSD, memory loss, nightmares, etc, bruises behind the ears, and petechiae, which are ruptured blood vessels appearing on the surface of the skin as red spots. 

In mid-2012, the National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA) recognized strangulation cases as serious predicators to homicide by intimate partners. As a result, NDAA launched a national push to educate law enforcement and healthcare providers on strangulation cases and the increased risk they pose in domestic violence situations. A 2008 study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine also found the risks of attempted homicide increase by 700% for females strangled by their partner.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said, "It is no more fitting than to begin our county-wide roll out of strangulation training than during domestic violence awareness month. As we expand this training to other police departments, I thank Chief Stahl for his willingness to partner on this pilot program as we start to roll this out to all of Pinal County."

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