New NYS Guidelines for Cops Responding to Domestic Incidents

October 25, 2023

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

On October 24, New York released new guidelines for law enforcement when responding to domestic incidents. Additionally, the state has provided additional funding to expand the use of the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (“ERPO”) Laws in such cases. Lastly, new legislation requires the state to issue cards containing information on Orders of Protection, as well informational materials on economic abuse to survivors of domestic violence.


NY’s Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy

In a newly released document, “Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy,” the NYS Municipal Police Training Counsel sets forth best practices and procedures for police officers to follow when responding to domestic incidents. Upon reviewing the new model policy, police agencies can then develop their own policies and procedures to best serve the unique needs of their own communities.

The model policy is said to be trauma-informed and survivor-centered. Overall, the goal of the model policy is to promote the safety for victims and officers, along with connecting individuals to services and support. Additionally, law enforcement also wants to preserve evidence of a crime, if one has occurred.

The new model policy addresses significant shifts in law enforcement policy and practice over the years. Moreover, there has been an increased understanding of the effects of trauma, the need to assess for lethality factors when responding to these incidents, and the importance of putting victims and survivors at the center of any response and holding individuals who harm accountable for their behavior.


Red Flag Laws and Domestic Incidents

In addition to this new guidance, the state has secured $1 million to expand the use of the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (“ERPO”) Laws in domestic incidents. ERPO is also known as the Red Flag Law, and it helps keep guns out of the hands of individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others. Under the law, respondents are provided with procedural safeguards to ensure that their firearms are not removed without due process.

Under this new financial investment, training and technical assistance will be provided for community-based organizations so they can help potential ERPO petitioners. Specifically, petitioners can be family members, school officials, and health and mental health care providers, and others. They will be taught to identify extreme risk behavior and navigate the court process.


Additional Legislation on Domestic Incidents

Two new bills (S.5935/A.5040 and S.5915/A.5347) have also been signed into law relating to domestic incidents. The “Hope Card Act” directs the state Office of Court Administration to develop a program to issue cards containing information on Orders of Protection. Already available in five other states, the cards are usually wallet size and contain all the essential information of an existing Order of Protection. The cards do not substitute the official court-issued Orders of Protection, but they may serve to empower and enable survivors to enforce their Orders of Protection.

Additionally, the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will now be required to distribute informational materials on economic abuse. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 90 percent of survivors of domestic violence have suffered economic abuse. Under the new legislation, information will be provided to survivors including housing resources, local social service offices, and more.




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