By Capt. David Knight
21st Security Forces Squadron
More than 75 Airmen from the 21st Security Forces Squadron received hands-on Domestic Violence Response training March 3 in an effort to reduce domestic violence conflicts.
The training was part of a three-week program consisting of various training scenarios preparing the 21st SFS for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection.
Since December 2008, the 21st SFS has been called to nine domestic incidents, six of which involved some form of physical violence. The number of domestic incidents has steadily increased in 2008, so Peterson security forces are stepping-up training as a preventative measure.
“Domestic situations can be some of the most dangerous incidents our Airmen respond to” said Lt. Col. Renee Campbell, 21st SFS commander. “Entering residences is extremely unpredictable, and that’s why we are conducting this training to better prepare our Airmen for the unexpected.”
Through coordination with Tierra Vista Communities, security forces obtained an empty housing unit to ensure training would be as authentic as possible. Training began with two hours of classroom instruction focusing on how to de-escalate situations and proper response techniques. The classroom portion was followed by four hours of hands-on training with domestic response scenarios. Each trainee received a radio dispatch to respond to the domestic incident. The responding patrolmen were then evaluated on their tactics, officer safety, and effectiveness in controlling the situation.
The domestic scenarios included loud noise complaints, domestic disputes between couples, sometimes involving children, and situations arising from Airmen dating the children of senior ranking officials. All scenarios were preplanned by the training staff and were based on real world lessons learned.
Despite the training, security forces believe the best remedy to domestic situations lies in prevention. Domestic violence cuts across all sections of society regardless of age, ethnicity, race, religion, or economic status. Research consistently shows that domestic violence is self-perpetuating in that children who witness violence at home are at a high risk of engaging in future violence themselves.
“We offer a variety of classes that military members, spouses, civilians, and contractors can take dealing with relationships and self-improvement” said Cathy Kerrigan, Family Advocacy Treatment manager. “Our classes include couples communication, parenting classes, surviving motherhood groups and stress management courses.”
Quite often the biggest hurdle in working through problems is the individuals themselves.
“Nearly all domestic issues I have been called out to in the past six years were preventable” said Master Sgt. Nikki Beard, 21st SFS first sergeant. “If the people would just use the resources that are available to them, they wouldn’t have ended up in the situation they are in.”
Security forces asks for everyone’s help in stamping out domestic violence on and off base. An abundance of resources are available to everyone through family advocacy, the chapel and various off-base agencies.
According to Air Force Instruction 40-301, all active duty and civilian employees are required to report suspected child, spouse or intimate partner maltreatment to Family Advocacy.
Family Advocacy is located in building 1171 next to the library. For more information, call 719-556-8943. If a crisis occurs after duty hours, members may contact a chaplain, security forces, first sergeants or call 9-1-1.