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Glendale PD begins round up of domestic violence suspects

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GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

October is domestic violence awareness month, but in Glendale, city leaders are doing a lot more than just sporting purple ribbons.

In a city that sees more domestic violence arrests than DUI's, Glendale also has more programs to help victims and those designed to bring suspects to justice.

Tuesday, inside the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, officers are briefed and ready to roll on day one of a three day operation targeting domestic violence suspects with outstanding warrants.

Sixty-four officers from GPD and Maricopa County Probation Services are participating in the so-called "round-up" that will have officers on the road for three days total from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Every team goes out and tries to pick up as many individuals as possible," says Glendale Police Detective Shane Lee.

Lee is leading one of those teams. He works in the GPD's domestic violence unit.

There's a friendly competition to see which team can make the most arrests.

In the briefing before they head out, Lee and the other team leaders divvy up around 400 warrants they will attempt to serve, not just in Glendale, but all across the Valley.

"From assault, disorderly conduct, threats, criminal damage," says Detective Lee.

CBS5 rode along with Detective Lee for several hours and witnessed one arrest and several unsuccessful attempts to contact people who have outstanding warrants.

During the three day sweep performed last year, officers made 344 attempts to contact individuals with warrants and arrested 37 people.

After people are arrested on domestic violence related charges, there's a good chance they will at some point appear before Glendale City Judge Elizabeth Finn.

"To help victims and hold abusers accountable," says Judge Finn.

She literally wrote the book judges statewide refer to on protective orders and domestic violence cases.

"Our court handles more protective orders per judge than any other city court in the state," says Judge Finn.

For three decades, Judge Finn has been at the forefront of domestic violence advocacy.

In Glendale, she has secured grants for a specific domestic violence treatment court, which would be comparable to a program an alcohol or drug offender would have to complete in order to satisfy the terms of their conviction.

Grants have also paid for a full-time victims advocate within the police department, and specific domestic violence offense reports for officers to prepare in the field.

"I realized the police, prosecutors and the judiciary really needed to step up," said Judge Finn about how she became involved in this area of the law.

The advocate who works for the police department is referred to as an expert in "high lethality" cases, those that can often end in death. The woman filling that role is on call 24-7.

"They're extremely pro-active and trying to reach out to our victims. Our victim's advocates are exceptional," says Detective Lee.

Only several hours into the round-up, officers made sixty contact attempts and made four arrests.

We will update those numbers as we get new information.

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