Death of La Vergne mom sparks change in domestic violence procedures in Metro

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Law enforcement focuses on preventative policing in an effort to stop people from dying from domestic violence incidents.

In Nashville, a group of experts meets regularly to analyze cases and homicide trends hoping to keep more victims alive.

Metro police tell News 2’s Alex Denis, a death of a mother in La Vergne changed notification procedures.

There’s no shortage of domestic violence cases to keep Metro police Lt. Kevin Lovell and his domestic violence team busy.

“Our detectives get anywhere from 600-750 cases a piece,” says Lovell.

He’s part of a collaborative team that meets monthly to review and make recommendations around improving response to domestic-related homicides.

Lovell says, “There’s a retired judge from Kentucky. There are members from the Family Safety Center, advocate councilors, a member from the DA’s office, and our CPT of domestic violence is on this board.”

They compile their findings in an annual report and share them publicly on the Metro Office of Family Safety website.

“We’ll review each case. Go through the facts of what happened. Some of the indicators that were there that we may have missed, and some of the things that maybe we could do better,” says Lovell.

News 2’s Alex Denis asks, “Are there things in place now that have derived from a previous case?” Lovell responds, “Yea, actually, the one in La Vergne.”

Investigators say an estranged husband shot his wife several times and then took his own life.

Lovell explains further, “Through emails we noticed that she was not notified of his release. That was a misstep by a releasing officer. She did everything she possibly could to stay safe.”

Now, he says, more checks are in place to ensure that never happens again.

“We met with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, and now we have a quarterly meeting with them,” he continues, “They’ve improved their system of completing an entire packet.” Lovell says the booking officer and releasing officer have all the necessary information so nothing gets missed so that the victim is notified before a release.

And, in hopes of preventing worse case scenario, another team meets weekly to review current cases flagging abusers who have indicators that make them high-risk for violence.

Lovell says, “If they’re an avid shooter, then that’s a flag. If they have a history of abuse, if they have a history of cruelty to animals, then those are things that play into the mind of an abuser.”

He says in the meeting they decide which cases need to be followed up with or need extra attention.

All in an effort to help victims that may not be able to help themselves.

Tennessee Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline: 800-356-6767.

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