Your Grant Dollars at Work:
The Quest for More Arrests
Police officer training Alaska Council on Domestic Violence
Sec. 18.65.240. Standards. (a) A person may not be appointed as a police officer, except on a probationary basis, unless the person (1) has satisfactorily completed a basic program of police training approved by the council, which includes at least 12 hours of instruction regarding domestic violence as defined in AS 18.66.990 , and (2) possesses other qualifications the council has established for the employment of police officers, including minimum age, education, physical and mental standards, citizenship, moral character, and experience. The council shall prescribe the means of presenting evidence of fulfillment of these requirements.
In 1994, the federal government began making millions of dollars in grant money available to states which “encouraged or mandated arrests of domestic violence offenders based on probable cause that an offense has been committed.” Safe Homes for Women Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-322, 40231(a)(3), 108 Stat. 1796, 1932 (codified at 42 U.S.C. 3796h(c)(1)(A) (2006).
Delian was a recipient of substantial grant dollars for mandatory arrests relating to domestic violence, which involved multiple “training” sessions for officers by the women advocacy organizations in Juneau. Arrests for domestic violence are common throughout Alaska, especially in the Native villages. Alaska leads the nation for statistics on occurrence of domestic violence.
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law (Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, H.R. 3355) signed as Pub.L. 103–322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994 (codified in part at 42 U.S.C. sections 13701 through 14040). The Act provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted. The Act also establishes the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice.
VAWA was reauthorized by bipartisan majorities in Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005, and signed by President George W. Bush. The Act’s 2012 renewal was opposed by conservative Republicans, who objected to extending the Act’s protections to same-sex couples and to provisions allowing battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas. Ultimately, VAWA was again reauthorized in 2013, after a long legislative battle throughout 2012–2013.
There have been numerous grant funded studies which were designed to produce statistics and ideological basis to support the lobbying efforts for legislation of the mandatory arrest statutes. Also grant money was used to prepare suggested legislation formats to be adopted by the state’s legislatures.