Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Thu, April 02

Join WPD in phone campaign

Imagine fearing for your life and having no way to get help.

This is the kind of situation victims of domestic violence often find themselves in, said Frank Manson, Williams Police Department chief. He said one way to help victims is by giving them a wireless phone.

"The phones are given to battered women so they’ll have a means to get help," he said. "One of the most dangerous times for a woman is when she is leaving an abusive relationship — this is a very perilous time."

Manson said that is why WPD is participating in the national Donate a Phone campaign.

The program is aimed at providing wireless phones to victims and those fighting against violence.

"All Arizonans can help out by donating their used wireless phones," a press release from the Arizona Foundation for Women states.

ALLTEL, Motorola, Swift Transportation and Channel 12 News along with the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona and many other police and fire departments are working together with the Arizona Foundation for Women to collect the phones. The phones are reprogrammed by Motorola and then distributed by ALLTEL, which is also providing free airtime. Then they will be given to domestic violence victims and agencies.

"The pre-programmed phones can literally be a lifeline, enabling victims to call 911 or designated shelters at the push of a button," the 12 News internet site states.

Manson, who started working in Williams Aug. 14, said domestic violence is everywhere. He said almost 25 percent of all police calls in Arizona involve domestic batterings.

"Domestic violence, since I’ve been here, is the significant portion of what we are called for, which is typical for any town," Manson said.

The scary facts are that five or six violent acts are committed before the first report of domestic violence is made to police, Manson said. Add to that — only 10 percent of all domestic violence is reported.

"By the time that it’s bad enough for them to call (police), it’s already too late to prevent the majority of the violence," he said.

Manson should know, he’s been involved in prevention for years.

"I helped start the domestic violence unit at Flagstaff Police Department," he said. "We’re going to take all the components from that program and incorporate them here."

Part of the job is to prepare officers.

"Each officer will be trained in our domestic violence program," Manson said. "What we’re planning in the near future is to train not only the officers but teachers, related organizations, day care facilities, social service people and especially the clinic to help them recognize the signs of domestic violence."

Far too often the signs were overlooked in the past, Manson said. He said the number of reports has increased over the last 10 years thanks to women’s advocacy groups working with police departments.

"Our police department is going to be an advocacy center for battered women," he said. "If they feel uncomfortable with the police department, we’ll get them in touch with the right people."

Anyone who wants to donate their used cellular phones can drop them off at WPD or can contact Terri Sutton, administrative assistant for WPD.

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