Officers trained on domestic violence situations |

Officers trained on domestic violence situations

Patty Madson

Joy Evans and Bob Belknap are arguing about credit card bills. Their arguing causes neighbors to call the police.

Sparks Police Lt. Tami Evans and Capitol Police Officer Andy Rasor arrive on scene. This is just one scenerio played out in a classroom at Nevada Peace Officer Standard Training Academy in Carson City. This is not an actual domestic violence call, it’s “The Little Theatre Concept,” developed by POST instructor Mike Mangiaracina for the 1999 academy.

“I wanted a domestic violence clinic,” he said. “I think police officers learn better by doing.”

October is Domestic Violence Month and the 18 cadets who attended the class will be able to take with them knowledge of actual domestic violence situations. Lt. Evans headed the class and Rasor assisted her going through four different scenarios using volunteer actors like Evans and Belknap.

“The Little Theatre Concept would be nothing without these actors,” Mangiaracina said.

Rasor, Mangiaracina’s former student, confirmed that, “These players are ad-libbing, it’s great, the spontaneity makes it all the more realistic.”

Both Joy Evans and Belknap have been volunteer acting for the last three years.

Belknap’s wife, Valorie, has a brother who is a captain at the sheriff’s department in Riverside, Calif.

“I would much rather (the cadets) screwed up with me than out on the street,” Belknap said.

Joy Evans also has a son who graduated from a police academy in California.

“I saw what a dangerous profession it was and wanted to give back any way I could,”Joy said.

Belknap is an account executive for KOLO-TV News Channel 8 and Evans works at the Carson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

The cadets will also tour the Advocates to End Domestic Violence shelter Oct. 19.

Marilyn Morrison-Coleman, an advocate at the shelter, summed up her view, “We are a shelter, and it’s important that we are a team with the police, the more we coordinate our trainings, the stronger we become.”

Kerrie Anderson, a sexual assault counselor for most of the last 8 years, said she wants the police to become familiar with the shelter.

“We plan to show them the shelter and they will be able to let the victims know that the shelter is a livable and safe place to go and bring their kids if they need to, they can reassure them,” she said.

Anderson said one of the most rewarding aspects of her job was “helping the victim and letting them know that there is hope.”