By Colleen Flaherty
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - Post officials and community members renewed their commitment to eradicating family violence Thursday with the annual domestic violence proclamation signing at III Corps Headquarters.
Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, Fort Hood's senior commander, called domestic violence the "antithesis of loyalty, which is the first Army core value."
The stress of multiple deployments is hard on a family, he said before signing the proclamation, adding, "Nothing is more disloyal than abusing a loved one."
Bell County has been tracking low-level misdemeanor domestic assaults involving soldiers since January, said Anne Jackson, assistant district attorney. About one-third of 100 recorded incidents have involved active-duty military, she said.
The newly formed Central Texas Family Violence Task Force hopes to use such data to intervene in domestic disputes before they escalate to something worse, she said.
"We can get involved early," said Jackson, a military spouse, "where it's just a slap, or just a punch."
Bell County recently received a grant to equip police officers with body cameras and other technology to better record and track domestic violence incidents.
That way, Jackson said, "when the victim is so isolated and so scared and alone that when she comes and tells me later that she wants to drop the charges, I can prosecute the case without her."
County officials are working increasingly with Fort Hood officials, she said, to ensure that deployments and other factors do not interfere with due process.
Grimsley said the ultimate solution to the problem is leadership. Leaders must engage and communicate with soldiers and their families, he said.
October is National Domestic Violence Prevention Month. Army Community Service's Family Advocacy Program organized the signing ceremony.
"Abuse is never OK, it's never timely, and it's never appropriate," program director Billy Floyd told the crowd.
The program is hosting a variety of awareness and advocacy events throughout the month, including a Stress and Military Life workshop on Oct. 26.
For more information on the workshop, call (254) 286-5338.
Contact Colleen Flaherty at email@example.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.