NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in 2018, there were more than 70,000 domestic violence calls in Tennessee. That means law officers were dispatched to a powder keg ready to explode 70,000 times.
Tennessee has the sad distinction of being one of the worst states in America when it comes to domestic murders where men kill women.
Local law officers are the first line of defense in almost every case and they all say it is the most complex and combustible call they will go on.
They say domestic calls are unpredictable because they are fueled by emotions mixed with volatility that can ignite at any moment.
“You can go in there with all intentions to arrest the subject and have the victim turn on you,” explained Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as going in and settling a small argument,” said Det. Sgt. Christopher Gagnon with Hendersonville police.
Officers from departments across Middle Tennessee all describe domestic calls the same way.
“They are very volatile situations. there’s anger, there might have been an assault,” said Portland Police Chief Anthony Heavener.
“You don’t know the background why this person loves this person or is dependent on this person. Domestics are one of the strangest things because it runs the full range of emotions,” explained Cheatham County Sheriff Lt. Ken Miller.
“Emotions are high. People are not always thinking rationally and they are not always sober. For some reason, people think it is a good idea to discuss marital problems while drinking all night or on a drug rampage,” said Hendersonville Police Commander Scott Ryan.
“One of the things we teach our young officers is that there is a weapon at every scene and you are wearing it, meaning, your weapon could be used against you,” said Heavener.
In a special News 2 series, officers open up about the perils of their job and how they cope with danger on a daily basis.
You can check out more from Behind the Badge here.