A brutal case of domestic violence that cost a mother and her child their lives in Red Deer in 2003 changed the way cases like that were handled by local RCMP.
The lessons learned so tragically when Josif Fekete shot and killed his estranged wife Blagica and their three-year-old son Alex were used to develop a protocol to much more effectively respond to incidents of domestic violence.
The Red Deer detachment now has a five-member domestic violence unit supported by another four civilian social workers. Weekly meetings are held with the local women’s shelter to ensure communication lines remain open.
In Edmonton last week, it was announced that new Alberta Police Services and Women’s Shelter Working Relationship Guidelines have been completed.
The guidelines update an agreement between the RCMP and women’s shelters and adds municipal and First Nations police forces.
The document does not change much locally because measures on how to handle domestic violence cases have already been in place for years.
The guidelines are more of a testament to the success of initiatives like those in place in Red Deer and area.
Red Deer RCMP acting detachment commander Insp. David Elliott said the relationship with the women’s shelter has been working very well.
“Our employees and members work very closely with the shelter,” he said. “It’s a very close working relationship.”
The protocols announced recently provide guidance to other police forces on how to create similar relationships, as well as provide checklists for officers and shelter workers dealing with incidents of domestic violence.
Elliott said it’s positive to see the initiative expanded throughout the province.
“There are other police forces in the province that have domestic violence units, and I know as time goes forward there will be more RCMP units set up.”
For instance, locally, there is a domestic violence co-ordinator who provides a link for surrounding detachments.