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Domestic disturbances a danger for police

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 07:08:19 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2012 07:54:22 PM CST

When police deal with domestic disturbances, the only thing to expect is the unexpected.

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

When police officers get called to a domestic disturbance, police say only one thing is for sure.

"It's one of the most dangerous calls for service they can get,"Benjamin Guitron of the Indio Police Department said. "You can never predict what is going to happen. You just can't."

The valley is paved, literally, with memories of police officer who have lost their lives responding to domestic disturbances. Highway 111 through La Quinta was renamed the Deputy Bruce Lee Memorial Highway in honor of Deputy Bruce Lee, beaten to death by a mentally disturbed man back in 2003.

The Haugen-Lehmann exit on Interstate 10 is named after Michael Haugen and James Lehmann, Junior, deputies who were ambushed and killed when responding to a domestic violence call in Whitewater.  

"It gets very dangerous because there are a lot of emotions involved. Very strong emotions. The officers are trying to make everyone relax, calm down, and work out the situation," Guitron said.

We spoke with a former victim of domestic abuse, who wishes to remain anonymous. She's experienced it all.

"Fist, slaps, pulling hair, throwing objects, throwing beer bottles, throwing full beer cans," the woman told us.

She told us she knows the threat an abusive man poses even to officials.

"I was told that a security guard tried to stop him from getting in, and I was told by the police officer that he just assaulted and beat up the security guard there at the apartment complex," she said.
 
She described the type of person police have on their hands.

"A psychotic man. They're crazy. A lot of times I think they're under the influence where they believe they are trying to protect what is theirs," she said.

Police said, in domestic disturbances where authority gets involved, it's not just the abuser who can get violent.

"I think the woman comes to the defense of the abuser. Me personally, I think it's because she wants to prove to him she didn't call the police. She's not the one against him. She's trying to help him," the woman said.

When police deal with unstable suspects, again, the only thing to expect is the unexpected.