LETTER – Muñoz testifies on behalf of domestic violence victims calling for training of local police and prosecutors

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz testified Monday to support her legislation requiring education and training to help local prosecutors and police handle domestic and sexual violence cases. The legislation was unanimously supported by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“It’s all part of the process of making sure law enforcement is trained in the best policies going forward,” said Muñoz (R-Union).  “Police and prosecutors need up-to-date information about best practices, such as how to handle the cases, serve the victims, and how to best provide information to both victims and defendants on seeking help.”

The bills were based on recommendations in a 2016 report of an ad hoc committee on domestic violence formed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, of which Muñoz was a member.

Watch Munoz testify here:

Munoz

“What we found was that in some parts of the state we were doing an excellent job providing services, but there were parts of the state that were doing less,” Muñoz told the committee.  “Our goal was to make sure everyone in the state was receiving the same level of service.”

For example, Muñoz pointed to an incident last week where a Newark murder suspect shot himself after police chased him into Summit one mile from her home. Earlier that day he was charged with fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend after recently being arrested twice on domestic violence charges involving the same victim, but he was released from custody.

“It shows you where we need more education regarding what the risks are to victims of domestic violence and what we can do to protect them,” said Muñoz.

The first bill (A860) establishes mandatory domestic violence training for municipal prosecutors. The second (A874) requires in-person training for law enforcement officers and county prosecutors.

A staunch advocate for domestic violence victims, Muñoz’s legislation preventing a person who committed domestic violence from owning a firearm was signed into law last year.

More than 60,000 incidents of domestic violence take place in New Jersey each year. Eight in 10 cases are dismissed, and only a third result in an arres