Victims of domestic crimes in Coeur d’Alene will have a friendly face at the police department to help them weather the unknown.
The city police were chosen to receive grants to help pay for a victims advocate, and a DUI officer.
The Coeur d’Alene Police Department was selected for a $65,000 grant to help pay for an advocate, a person who works closely with domestic crime victims, often at the crime scene, and later, as the case is being investigated and charges are being prepared.
Police will also receive more than $100,000 for a DUI officer.
The department, which responds to around 900 domestic violence calls annually, had applied for two grants to help pay for two victims advocates, but received word last week that one position would be partially funded. The city will pay an additional $22,000 for the remaining portion of salary and benefits for one position, Chief Lee White said.
Many police departments, including Post Falls, already have victim advocates who help victims navigate the criminal justice system beginning on the day of the crime.
Traditionally, Coeur d’Alene police didn’t have an advocate, so victims were referred to community-based programs by responding police officers, or the prosecutor’s office.
Because of the heavy caseload, police had a difficult time following through with the victim, and the prosecutor’s office, which has its own advocates, were often overbooked.
“We have enough work to keep three or four victims advocates working,” White said.
Police will also receive $108,000 — 75 percent of salaries and benefits, as well as equipment including a computer and vehicle equipment — to hire a DUI officer, and the city will make up the $27,000 difference.
In preparation for meeting the City Council tonight, Chief White told members of the public service committee that he would also need a police car for the DUI officer.
“I don’t have any spare cars at all,” White said.
He plans to buy a $68,000 vehicle with money in his budget.
“I can’t have a DUI cop on foot patrol,” White said. “It’s kind of a necessity we give him something to drive. We don’t have any spares laying around.”