The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 3, 2013

Local leaders’ lesson in domestic violence

— Five Cambria County law enforcement officers will be in Savannah, Ga., later this month for a four-day conference dealing with violence against women.

Domestic violence and sexual assaults can be some of the most dangerous calls police must handle.

“We’ve hand 24 homicides in the three years (and) 10 months since I’ve been DA,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said. “Ten have been domestic-violence related.”

Often women refuse to testify against the abuser, creating obstacles for prosecutors.

The conference could help solve that issue.

“Women refuse to cooperate with the prosecution out of fear for themselves or their children,” Callihan said. “They’ll been trained on collecting evidence in domestic violence cases, so we can go forward without the victim.”

Chief Kirk Moss of Adams Township, Chief Nicholas Zakucia Jr., of Geistown and Sgt. Jerry Martin, of Richland Township will participate along with  Detective Julie Wagner of Johnstown and Chief Michael Oyaski of Nanty Glo.

The five are sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and The Alliance of Service Organizations from Chicago.

They are five of only 31 officers from across the country who will attend.

The paid scholarships are part of an grant awarded by Pennsylvania Coalition on Crime and Delinquence, the District Attorney’s office, the Women’s Help Center and Victim Services.

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