Billboards installed to bring awareness to abuse, strangulation -

Billboards installed to bring awareness to abuse, strangulation

Billboards installed to bring awareness to abuse, strangulation

To increase public awareness of issues with abuse and strangulation in domestic violence cases, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles installed billboard public service announcements along I-10 in Pinal County.

The two billboards were installed this week to coincide with October, which serves as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and will remain throughout October.

After taking office, Pinal County Attorney Voyles believed strangulation cases were going unnoticed and underreported in Pinal County. As a result, Voyles teamed up with local law enforcement partners and the Sheriff’s Office to provide strangulation training to detectives and patrol officers throughout the county.

On Oct. 2, 2013, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles began working with the City of Maricopa Police Department and Scottsdale Healthcare to offer detectives and patrol officers within Maricopa PD training on the signs and symptoms of strangulation.

Among the signs and symptoms officers learned were to observe changes in the victim’s voice, difficulty swallowing, a swollen tongue or neck, changes in the victims mental state – highly emotional, PTSD, memory loss, nightmares, etc, bruises behind the ears, and petechiae, which are ruptured blood vessels appearing on the surface of the skin as red spots.

Now, one year after the trainings, law enforcement are recognizing the symptoms of strangulation and Voyles wants the public to understand that law enforcement are better discovering and investigating these cases.

In fact, since the trainings, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office has already seen an increase in the number of strangulation cases being referred to the prosecutors from police departments around the county. From data collected in the first six months of 2014, PCAO projects an increase over 2012 and 2013's numbers from AJ, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy, Maricopa and PCSO's police reports alleging strangulation due to the training provided.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles stated, “Strangulations represent a crime that is seconds away from homicide and, now, in Pinal County, these dangerous offenders are increasingly being charged and prosecuted appropriately. To be clear, I do not believe we are seeing an increase of strangulations in Pinal County, rather we are now recognizing the signs and cases that have gone unnoticed.”