Domestic Violence Awareness Month: A Call to Action
By Col. Barry Wilson
October 23, 2019
Alaska has many secrets and scars and many wounded women, men, and children. Alaskans are being deprived of beauty in their lives and are being harmed. Our children are growing up in homes where violence is a daily occurrence.
Alaska’s rates of domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. As a 30-year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers, I bore witness to countless acts of domestic violence and sexual assault and have seen the long-lasting impacts of the physical and psychological trauma inflicted on victims.
Recently, the Alaska Department of Public Safety updated policies relating to domestic violence regarding our response and investigation. Significant advancements in training have occurred over the past five years to improve how domestic violence cases are investigated and how children exposed to violence are interviewed. DPS will partner with a school district in a pilot project called Handle with Care – an effort to support the continued academic success of children who have experienced or witnessed violence.
As a law enforcement officer, it is easy for me to focus on solutions that are solely within the criminal justice system. Law enforcement’s role in domestic violence cases is to respond, investigate, and arrest to stop the immediate and ongoing acts of violence. However, as a husband, father, and grandfather, I know that many of the solutions to this crisis lie outside of the criminal justice system. I know that I must be a role model in and out of uniform—especially to children and young men.
Domestic violence is not a private personal or family issue; it is a societal problem that must be pulled from the shadows and snuffed out of existence. We must address the crisis of domestic violence at every level – in our relationships, in our homes, in our schools, in our communities, and in our state. We must band together and use every partnership to work collaboratively and effectively to support survivors, to provide treatment to offenders, and to cure that which ails our families and communities.
The climate surrounding domestic violence must change. It will take significant and widespread changes to societal attitudes, norms, and beliefs to end the violence within our families and communities and, most importantly, to stop the violence before it even starts. It is the only way to win this war. It will take all of us. Please, look in a mirror and ask yourself: What will I do?
As the Colonel of the Alaska State Troopers, I know what I will do. I will do my best to ensure that troopers are effective and compassionate when dealing with victims and families of survivors. I know the limitations of the troopers in responding – the two most significant challenges are staffing and geography. I am committed to doing my best to increase staffing and improve response to incidents. I am also committed to partnerships between the state and the federal governments that will enhance our capabilities in rural Alaska. I am committed to working with communities, non-profits, and individuals to provide safety for victims and their children. As a man, I am committed to standing up to domestic violence in our communities.
Colonel Barry Wilson
About: Colonel Barry Wilson has been an Alaska State Trooper since 1990 and was promoted in January of 2019 to the Director for the Division of Alaska State Troopers. His previous position was the Captain and Commander of AST’s C Detachment for eight years, which provided service to Alaska’s western coast and a significant portion of the state’s rural communities. Col. Wilson is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy and is President of the FBINA Associates in Alaska. Col. Wilson has visited a significant number of the rural communities in Alaska.
Received October 22, 2019 - Published October 23, 2019
Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:
E-mail your letters
& opinions to email@example.com
Published letters become the property of SitNews.