For an officer or a deputy, one of the most dangerous calls is a domestic violence call because they have no idea what to expect. And there are times where it could turn deadly, as in the case in Lincoln County where a man killed eight people including a deputy on Memorial Day. Willie Cory Godbolt remains in the Copiah County jail charged with seven counts of murder and one count of capital murder.
To prevent an incident like that from happening again, officers have to know how to diffuse the situation for all involved. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Department held a domestic violence training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at the North Carrollton Baptist Church Life Center. Officers from the Winona Police Department and the Grenada Police Department also were in attendance.
The class was taught by Special Assistant Attorney General/Human Trafficking Coordinator Paula Broome and Raina Anderson.
Through Class Jeopardy, Broome taught officers and deputies how to react in a domestic situation, what they should look for, domestic laws, and how to spot the principal aggressor.
The group broke into groups and had to work as a team to answer questions.
Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker said domestic violence calls are some of those frequent calls they receive.
He said aggressors want the power and control that comes with subduing a victim into doing what they want the victim to do, and when law enforcement shows up, it’s a battle for them because aggressors feel law enforcement are there to take away their power – and they are.
“It’s normal for a victim to be fearful about telling us what’s really going on,” Walker said. But, he added, a victim shouldn’t be fearful and should want to come forward.
In a domestic situation, there are incidents that are warrantless and as long as probable cause has been established, the law enforcement officer can step in and take control of the situation. Broome taught those in attendance that the aggressor will turn it on the victim and make the victim, usually a woman, out to be the aggressor.
In one video, there was a scenario of a husband who had scratches on his face and was bleeding because the wife hit him with a vase. The two stories were comparable. The wife bought groceries with their money, the husband wanted a drink, and there was no money in the account. The husband went home and confronted the wife, which led to a fight because he pushed her into the wall. The man was being the aggressor.
But, when the police came, the man turned it around and made it out that the woman was the aggressor. But, in this case, she was the victim. Broome told those in attendance the principal aggressor was easy to spot but in some cases, they’re not.
“It’s a lot closer than this,” she said. “This one was easy to spot.” She said another tell-tell sign was the man’s willingness to deflect the heat off him when the officer in the video asked if he’d put his hands on his wife.
“Did you hear what he said? He said ‘Look at her? You don’t see any bruises, do you? Watch the words they choose,” Broome told the class, pointing out the man said he went home to confront his wife.
“If I was in law enforcement, I’d ask him ‘What did you do to confront her?’” There were some who thought the woman was the aggressor because of the calmness, even though it’s rare, Broome said it does happen.
“Victims don’t all act the same,” she said. “Some of them aren’t going to be hysterical. Some will be calm because it's happened before. There a numbness that you see.”
Walker said in cases like the example shown during training, there are mandatory arrest policies in place to help. “It can be valuable for a survivor to know in advance that we use this practice,” he said.
He told the class that when the call comes through, it’s best when two officers take a call at a home. In the case of the Lincoln County deputy, he responded to the home alone and the shooting happened as Godbolt was leaving the home.
He told those in attendance to soak up as much as they can and to learn all that they can while having fun.
“If this doesn’t light your wood, then you need to check your wood because something’s wrong,” Walker said. “When we get the call, we only got one chance to get there and these are dangerous calls. We have to know what to articulate in the courtroom in front of the justice court judge.”