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ACPO Leads Domestic Violence Training for Atlantic County Police Recruits

Atlantic County

By: Najla Alexander 

Atlantic County officials announced that on Wednesday, July 3rd, at the Anthony Canale Training Center in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office (ACPO) Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, aided by the expertise of ACPO Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) Coordinator Sarah McGaffney, instructed Atlantic County Police Academy recruits on the victimology response, investigation, and prosecution of domestic violence.


Domestic violence is a very common call for police officers and is frequently a contributing factor in future violent crimes, officials said. 

Officials say the recruits were given an overview of domestic violence, including the cycle of violence that exists within an abusive relationship, various response modalities, and important resources available to victims.

Police Training Center Director Ed Thornton states, “The Atlantic County Police Training Center, in its effort to provide the latest training concepts to the police recruits, has forged partnerships with agencies throughout the county and state. One such partnership with Atlantic County Prosecutor William Reynolds has provided the Training Center with Subject Matter Experts like Joe Remy and Sarah McGaffney. These professionals gave the recruits insights into domestic violence laws and incidents that will benefit them as they take their places in policing.”

According to officials, the presentation also delved into nonfatal strangulation and the activation of Breathing/Blood flow Restriction Event: Advocacy, Treatment, Help, and Empowerment (BREATHE) Teams, a multi-disciplinary effort spearheaded by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

The BREATHE Team was designed to provide comprehensive and specialized support to those victims of domestic violence who experience nonfatal strangulation and/or smothering, one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence, officials stated.  Pic

In addition to an approximately 750 percent increased risk of homicide of the victim by the perpetrator, officials said, these victims may also sustain life-threatening internal injuries.

Authorities say FNE Coordinator McGaffney leads this initiative throughout the county, and in addition to educating about domestic violence and sexual assault in a number of settings, her role involves examining both sexual assault victims, as well as those who report a domestic violence strangulation and/or smothering event.

FNE Coordinator McGaffney quotes, "Domestic Violence and strangulation education for new recruits is so important because it helps them to identify the core red flags and how to immediately help the victim to prevent further harm.With strangulation being the fourth most common cause of homicide in the US, we have learned the effects of strangulation on a survivor can last a lifetime, making a forensic medical exam an extremely crucial part of the process."

"Having every member from the BREATHE Team respond to a strangulation/smothering event can remove the victim from a dangerous environment, give a full head-to-toe physical assessment with medical imaging, thorough evidence collection and provide resources and therapies available to them."Ad

"The training will help prepare every member of the team to recognize, respond and refer when a victim is experiencing strangulation or smothering."

ACPO's licensed and certified employees seek to continue this important education to law enforcement officers in the future, officials stated. 

If you believe that you or someone you know may be the victim of domestic violence, call 911 immediately.

For information and resources for victims of strangulation, please visit here, officials said.