The Sheriffs Office of St. Marys County, the States Attorneys Office and the Maryland State Police are pleased to announce the formation of a unified Domestic Violence Unit. Sheriff David D. Zylak, Mr. Richard Fritz, States Attorney, and Lt. Brian Cedar of the Maryland State Police, have collaborated in establishing a comprehensive law enforcement response to the victims of domestic violence. A unified Domestic Violence Unit, expected to be operational by early June, will assure timelier service of Ex-Partes and Protective Orders as well as follow-up investigations involving domestic violence. Additionally, the team will assess those individuals involved in incidents of domestic violence to ascertain the propensity to violence. Staffing will include a representative from the States Attorneys Office, a State trooper, and a Sheriffs deputy. This partnership promises to broaden and enhance the roles that law enforcement and prosecution are taking in protecting the rights and safety of domestic violence victims.
The Domestic Violence Unit is a law enforcement response to the rising numbers of domestic violence calls. In the year 2000, there were 362 calls for Protective Order service. By the end of October 2004, there had already been 450 calls for Protective Order service, an increase of 20% in four years. Between January and the end of April 2005, there were 105 calls for a domestic assault in progress. While these numbers may indicate a greater awareness of victims rights, they also indicate a greater need for services from law enforcement, the judicial system, and victim service providers.