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 Fast forward to August 12, 2021 just outside of Moab, Utah. I have watched the body-worn camera footage. Those officers did the best job they could have done. Domestic violence is still a tricky crime to enforce when emotions of those involved run high and victims seem to take responsibility. What if those officers had known about those twelve questions? What if they would have had the tool to direct them to put Gabby Petito in touch with a victim service counselor from the roadside? What if . . .?
After a while of using the tool, one of my new friends from the victim services side seemed completely aggravated and asked, “How do we get our cops to do the LAP?” I told her, “Keep asking them why they are not doing it.” She called me a few weeks later and had set up a time for me to come teach a group of local law enforcement what I knew about the LAP. She has succeeded in
getting a number of police departments and sheriff ’s departments to implement this tool and get victims in touch with her staff. Victims are getting services and police officers are safer for it.
What if those Utah officers would have known the options available to them? What if they had known about the lethality assessment protocol? They would have known specific questions to ask to assess the specific risk that threatened Gabby Petito and them. The failure is not on the officers, but on us as a society and a community to be more demanding of our law enforcement to know. We cannot simply arrest our way out of the challenges that domestic violence presents to our communities. We must be knowledgeable from a law enforcement perspective and a service provider perspective to help and empower domestic violence victims to make decisions for their own safety and also ours.

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