TERRE HAUTE, Ind (WTHI) - Last week’s fatal shooting of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Rod Bradway is a somber reminder of just how dangerous domestic violence calls are for responding officers and sheriff’s deputies.
"We consider domestic violence calls one of the most dangerous type calls that we respond to,” said Clark Cottom, chief deputy of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.
Cottom’s department has its own face of a deadly domestic call: Sergeant Kevin Artz, who was murdered on-the-job July 1, 1987.
Cottom and his colleagues remember the incident well; and for those too young to recall some 26 years ago, there is a memorial plaque to Artz hanging in the sheriff’s department’s front lobby. There is also a road in Terre Haute that bears the late officer’s name: W. Kevin Artz Memorial Way, in the area of 25th and College.
Cottom said domestic calls are not diminishing; in fact, he said, they’re becoming more and more common for departments everywhere. To keep up with that troubling trend, Cottom said all uniformed officers in the state of Indiana are required, by law, to partake in domestic violence training annually.
Additionally, he said the department’s current protocol when responding to domestic disturbances is to dispatch at least two deputies; three if at all possible, Cottom said.
Furthermore, the chief deputy pointed out, the general handling of such domestic calls has improved department-wide.
“We have better radio communications, we have better communications with our dispatchers,” Cottom said. “Our dispatchers are trained to ask key questions.”
It is a fact-finding mission, he explained, on the part of 911 dispatchers so they can arm responding officers with as much detail as possible.
Chief Deputy Cottom said he did now know IMPD Officer Bradway personally, though the 41-year-old victim did have ties to Terre Haute: he attended ISU and was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity in Terre Haute.
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