The roll call room at the Worthington Police Department filled up with dozens of officers from across Franklin County Monday morning.
Officers from Worthington, Sharon Township, Columbus, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Groveport, and Whitehall planned a warrant sweep for people charged with domestic violence. They had help from the Municipal Clerk of Courts and the Franklin County Office of Homeland Security.
Normally, that's the kind of clout police use when cracking drug or theft rings.
But in this case, it was for misdemeanor domestic violence. Nearly 4,000 warrants for domestic violence are on file, dating back to 1986.
"We make arrests every day. And those individuals fail to show up for court, and warrants are generated. And due to limited resources of each agency there becomes a backlog," said James Mosic, chief of Worthington Police.
Grant money allowed the police to dedicate eight hours to tracking down abusers. The goal was to try arrest more than 50 suspects in one day.
It was a slow process. Officers in teams of five from several departments knocked on doors, identified themselves, and asked for more information when the person they sought was not home.
"Do you know if he's in town? Do you have his phone number?" officers asked. "Is he working now?"
They planned to follow up on each lead.
Mosic said he regretted that it has taken so long to round up abusers.
"Unfortunately, due to limited resources and manpower constraints, we are sending the wrong message that we don't have the time, but we are making it a priority to show to these victims that they are a priority," Mosic said.
Nikki Ransom-Alfred was such a victim.
"Either he was going to end up killing me, or I was going to end up killing myself," said the mother of four said.
She said her former husband was handsome and charming but also abusive.
"It started with pushes, but then it went to chokes," she said.
She had a college degree and a good job but she also had low-self-esteem.
"You feel like you need that person. You feel like you can't live without that person. Even though part of your mind knows that this isn't what love is," she said.
After her husband began to punch her, she found the courage to go Choices for help for the sake of her children.
Choices offered her safe shelter and counseling. Ransom-Alfred said that she's pleased that police are working to arrest those charged with domestic violence.
"It's great that it's actually happening because we need to stop treating domestic violence like it's just an incident," she said. "It affects everyone is such a negative way and it needs more than just a slap on the wrist or don't do that. This is really serious."
The chief agreed...and had a message for abusers.
"We will be looking for you."
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