HARTFORD ——The Hartford Police Department's domestic violence unit, first envisioned last summer in response to a significant increase in that category of crime, begins operation today.
The unit is staffed by a sergeant and two detectives, who work full time investigating serious domestic violence cases.
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The unit will also be involved in the investigation of all sexual assaults and crimes involving stalking, and all city police cruisers are being outfitted with domestic violence evidence collection kits that will include cameras so officers can quickly document and preserve evidence of injuries.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts called for the creation of the unit last August after crime statistics showed domestic violence accounted for almost a quarter of all aggravated assaults in the city in 2008.
That prompted the department to take a look back, which showed that domestic violence had increased 216 percent over five years.
"In the past two years, a third of our aggravated assaults were domestic violence incidents," Roberts said at the time. "We needed to find a better way to serve the public."
Roberts said the unit will provide follow-up visits to both the victim and offender to assure that the victim is safe and the offender is complying with court-ordered sanctions.