Seminar Aimed At Stopping Domestic Violence Homicides Attracts Maine’s Finest 

Law enforcement officers, social service advocates, and Maine’s top prosecutors were among a group that attended domestic violence homicide prevention training in Bangor Tuesday.The seminar was run by Retired Sergeant Michael Coker who served on the Portsmouth, Virginia Police Department and is considered an expert in the field of domestic violence prevention.Those who attended the seminar are all too aware of the size of the problem in Maine. “I think we’ve all seen the increase in domestic violence cases in general. In particular with domestic violence homicides,” said Major Gary Wright of the Maine State Police.More than half of the murders that take place in Maine are domestic violence homicides. Coker told those in attendance it will take a team effort to put a dent in that staggering figure. “Police can be the first responders, but we can’t be the only responders if we’re going to do something about domestic violence,” Coker said. “What changed me is the children. That will change you if you ever see the children who witness violence or are the victims of violence.”Coker urges law enforcement to be proactive to try and stop these incidents, before they escalate to homicides. “Homicides don’t occur in a vacuum in the domestic violence arena. There’s always a build up,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese. Marchese is one of four Assistant Attorney General’s who prosecute homicides in Maine.Both Coker and Marchese agree, it’s crucial to understand what that build up was. That can be the key stopping future domestic violence incidents before they escalate to murder. “Has there been power or control issues? And that becomes very important later on in the prosecution. Because a jury needs to understand what was going on in that household, in that relationship,” Marchese said.Around 100 people are expected to take part in the two training sessions that are being offered in Bangor.