AMID the political grandstanding that tends to take center stage during any legislative session, lawmakers do occasionally get it right. This was the case in the 2014 session, when a bill designed to reduce domestic violence got the nod from the Legislature.
House Bill 2526 by Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, and Sen. David Holt, R-Bethany, takes effect Nov. 1. It will require police officers to ask suspected victims of domestic violence a series of questions. The “lethality assessment protocol” will help officers determine the level of danger that victims might be facing and require officers to contact a victim advocacy organization.
“Intervention is immediate,” Floyd said in a news release. “This legislation directly addresses our domestic violence crisis by giving law enforcement the tools to help victims receive the appropriate security or services they need.”
We hope the law proves effective. Floyd said police departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa already use the practice. Data from a three-year study of the protocol involving Johns Hopkins University, Arizona State University, the University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Health and seven police departments is undergoing analysis.
Of course, the best situation would be that such a law wasn’t necessary. That simply isn’t the case in Oklahoma, where domestic violence is a well-documented problem: