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Cooperation between Luke Family Advocacy Center and Glendale Police Department earns international honor

Debora Black, Glendale Chief of Police, Sgt. Patrick Beumler, Glendale Criminal Investigations Officer, Capt. Sonja Raciti, Luke Family Advocacy Officer, and Col. Stephen Boden, commander of the 56th Medical Operations Squadron, pose with an International Association of Chiefs of Police award Nov. 5, at the Glendale Family Advocacy Center. The award was presented to both the Glendale Police Department and the Luke FAC in honor of their joint efforts to support and protect victims of domestic violence and abuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

Debora Black, Glendale Chief of Police, Sgt. Patrick Beumler, Glendale Criminal Investigations Officer, Capt. Sonja Raciti, Luke Family Advocacy Officer, and Col. Stephen Boden, commander of the 56th Medical Operations Squadron, pose with an International Association of Chiefs of Police award Nov. 5, at the Glendale Family Advocacy Center. The award was presented to both the Glendale Police Department and the Luke FAC in honor of their joint efforts to support and protect victims of domestic violence and abuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

A map of procedures outlining the processes detailing the handling of domestic violence and abuse cases adorns a wall in the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, Nov. 5. The Glendale FAC is an extension of the city police department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

A map of procedures outlining the processes detailing the handling of domestic violence and abuse cases adorns a wall in the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, Nov. 5. The Glendale FAC is an extension of the city police department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Military University presented a certificate of honor to both the Glendale Police Department and the Luke Family Advocacy Center for their joint efforts in providing support for victims of domestic abuse Oct. 25, in Chicago.

The award, which was accepted by the GPD and then handed to members of the Luke FAC in a second ceremony Nov. 5, highlights the cooperation between the officers and detectives of the Glendale Family Advocacy Center and the office of the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate here at Luke in providing resources to care for and protect military-related victims of domestic violence and abuse.

"Domestic violence is often seriously traumatizing and the end result can be deadly," said Capt. Sonja Raciti, 56th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy officer. "We've seen so many victims who have passed away because they remained trapped in violent situations with their abusers and could not figure out how to escape."

The Luke DAVA and Glendale Family Advocacy Center are able to assist victims by guiding them through legal procedures and providing them with resources such as shelter, transportation, and childcare in order to allow the victim and their family to live independently of their abuser.

"Having someone who can walk them through the legal processes and hold their hand to let them know there really is a light at the end of the tunnel is essential," Raciti said.
Additionally, partnership with the Glendale Police Department allows the FAC to more easily direct victims through the process of obtaining restraining and protection orders against aggressors.

"If the victim's abuser continues to pursue them, text them, call them, or threaten or intimidate them, there is protection that the police can offer and we can help the victim get that."

The cooperative efforts of the two advocacies as defined by their Memorandum of Understanding, a formal agreement of partnership between Luke and the Glendale Police, is resulting in an effect reaching far beyond the local Phoenix community.

"We are looking at creating a like MOU for Air Force installations throughout the Air Force enterprise to be able to utilize, and are interested in how [Luke] chose to structure [theirs]," said David Thomas, senior advisor for the Sexual Assault Prevention Response Office at the Pentagon.

"Our higher-ups are really looking at how we work with civilian law enforcement here, and are acknowledging that this is something we should have Air Force-wide," said Raciti.

The advocacies are hopeful the impact their collective work has created will continue to help victims for the foreseeable future.

"We enjoy the great partnership we have between Luke and the City of Glendale, and this award is just a reflection of how, when we work together, we create a better community and better services for the people who serve our country at all levels," said Debora Black, Chief of Police of the GPD. "Our MOU establishes our partnership for five years, but I know our cooperation will go far beyond that."