Mayor Megan Barry Executive Order Number 022
THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY
MEGAN BARRY, MAYOR
Subject: Creation of the Metropolitan Government Domestic Abuse Death Review Team
WHEREAS, domestic abuse related deaths are of grave concern to all citizens of Nashville and Davidson County; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Government to establish such procedures that may be necessary to reduce the incidence of domestic abuse; and
WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee has enacted Chapter No. 788 of the Public Acts of 2000, to be designated as Tennessee Code Annotated §36-3-624, authorizing a county to establish an interagency domestic abuse death review team to identify and review domestic abuse deaths, including homicides and suicides, and to facilitate communication among the various agencies involved in domestic abuse cases in order to recommend improvements in the system of services to domestic abuse victims and their families, and to provide accurate information related to domestic abuse issues to the community.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Megan Barry, Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me, do hereby direct and order the following:
Creation of Team. There is hereby created a team to be known as the Metropolitan Government Domestic Abuse Death Review Team, (“the Team”).
Composition of Team. The Team shall consist of the following voting members
The District Attorney General of Davidson County or an assistant district attorney designated by the District Attorney General. The District Attorney General of Davidson County shall serve as chairperson at the initial organizational meeting.
A representative from Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee.
A representative with domestic violence expertise from the medical community to be appointed by the Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
A representative from the Personal Crimes Division and a representative from the Domestic Violence Division of the Metropolitan Police Department to be appointed by the Chief of Police.
The Sheriff of the Metropolitan Government or a designee of the Sheriff.
The Director of the Metropolitan Government Department of Health or a designee of the Director.
A representative of a domestic violence abuse shelter and crisis hotline provider in Davidson County to be appointed by the Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
An individual currently employed as a victim advocate to be appointed by the Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
The Chief Medical Examiner of the Metropolitan Government or a designee of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Representative of the Metropolitan Government Office of Family Safety.
Two private citizens who have demonstrated an interest in reducing the incidence of domestic abuse to be appointed by the Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
The chairperson of the Health, Hospitals And Social Services Committee of the Metropolitan Council or a designee of the chairperson.
Two representatives from non-profit groups that serve domestic violence victims and who are not already serving as a designee of the Mayor or representing any of the other agencies mentioned elsewhere in these Protocols to be appointed by the Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
Of the voting members, a minimum of one member must be a survivor of domestic violence.
Special Resource Team.
In addition to the above voting members comprising the Team, in any particular death review wherein one or more other persons may be able to provide additional appropriate information, expertise or guidance, the Team may request any of the following persons as ad hoc, nonvoting members:
The chief law enforcement officer, or a designee of the chief law enforcement officer, of any law enforcement agency, within or outside Nashville and Davidson County, that may have investigated, or assisted in the investigation of, a domestic abuse related death.
Any person with expertise in the field of criminology or mental health.
A representative from the Metropolitan Fire Department with expertise in arson investigation.
A representative of the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
Any other person or persons or representatives from other local agencies who may provide insight or guidance to the First Response Team
An individual with the appropriate clinical degree and experience to interview near death survivors and family members of deceased victims
A representative from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Any member of the legal community with special expertise in victim’s rights or domestic abuse.
Responsibility and Authority of the Team. It shall be the responsibility of the Team to identify, review, and analyze fatal or near fatal incidents of domestic violence to better understand the dynamics of these fatalities or near fatalities and to facilitate communication among the various agencies involved in domestic abuse cases. “Fatal incidents of domestic violence” means a homicide or suicide that is committed by a party to the domestic violence and not committed by an on-duty police officer acting within the scope of employment. “Near fatal incident of domestic violence” includes attempted homicides and cases where it is likely that the victim would have died but for medical intervention. It shall also be the responsibility of the Team to conduct an in-depth review of a minimum of one domestic violence fatal or near-fatal incident(s) per year. Selected cases must be considered “closed cases” by both the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. A minimum period of two years must have elapsed from the time of death in order to interview family members and other close associations of the victim and/or offender.
Toward that end, the duties and functions of the team may include, but are not limited to the following:
Identifying patterns and trends of domestic abuse in the community.
Identifying barriers to safety and justice and evaluating the services provided to the victim or their family, and reviewing what services and interventions the victim may have needed and wanted.
Identify gaps in training, policy, practice, resources, communication and collaboration.
Making recommendations for systemic improvements to services or assistance offered to domestic abuse victims.
Establishing communication paths between any agency or entity providing assistance to domestic abuse related victims and their families.
Developing a protocol for the collection of data regarding domestic abuse related deaths.
Bringing witnesses or consultants before the Team when necessary and appropriate for the purpose of analyzing a particular death or to gather expertise concerning domestic abuse and to subpoena all records of any nature maintained by any public or private entity that may pertain to a death being reviewed by the Team.
Interviewing victims, witnesses, family members and other close associations in a trauma informed manner with the purpose of establishing a risk timeline, identifying “red flags” and services utilized and not utilized by the victim and/or offender, and points where improved intervention services may have been helpful. Interviews of survivors and family members of a deceased victim must be done by a person with an appropriate clinical degree and experience.
Studying programs and procedures of other jurisdictions for the purpose of making recommendations for potential adoption by the Metropolitan Government.
Submitting an annual written report to the Mayor and the Metropolitan Government Office of Family Safety Advisory Committee of its activities, including any recommendations that may improve the quality or effectiveness of any program, service, or investigative technique designed to provide service and assistance to domestic abuse victims.
Making recommendations as to any new or improved legislation that would provide additional protection to domestic abuse victims and their families.
Coordinating with members of the Child Death Review Team as appropriate.
Protocol of the Team. The following procedures shall be adopted by the Team:
A Chairperson will be elected by the team. This Chairperson cannot be part of the Metropolitan Government response system to domestic violence victims. The Team’s sub-chair will be the Captain of the Metropolitan Police Department Domestic Violence Division.
The Captain of the Domestic Violence Division, in coordination with the commander of the Personal Crimes Section, will, on a regular basis, (and any member on the Team may) apprise the chairperson and team members of all domestic abuse related deaths.
The chairperson will, convene Team meetings bi-monthly . In no case, however, shall meetings of the Team be conducted on less than a semi-annual basis.
The Captain of the Domestic Violence Division and the Captain of the Personal Crimes Section, subject to the parameters set forth below in subsection (10) regarding scope of review of cases, will cause all necessary reports or summaries thereof and/or investigative personnel relating to a domestic abuse death to be available to team members in a manner that preserves confidentiality.
The Captain of the Personal Crimes Section will direct all investigative personnel under his/her command to carefully analyze any suicide for a determination as to whether that suicide is in any way related to domestic abuse issues. Reports and investigative personnel relating to such a suicide will be made available to the Team.
The Team may refer the inquiry into the death of any minor child to the Child Death Review Team of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Davidson County, established pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 68-142-101 et seq. and may cross-refer inquiries and share information related to cases involving domestic abuse within the confidentiality guidelines established under these Protocols.
The Team and other participants shall be informed at each meeting of their statutory responsibility regarding confidentiality pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-3-624.
The Team shall exercise any subpoena authority only upon a vote of two thirds (2/3) of the voting members present and only after approval of the Team representative from the Office of the District Attorney General.
All materials or records supplied by any investigative agency or other entity to Team members shall be returned to that investigative agency or entity prior to the adjourning of a meeting. However, upon majority vote, and approval of the Team representative for the Office of the District Attorney General, one or more Team members representing an investigative component may be designated to retain such records or reports for the purpose of further review in order to provide additional information or insight to the Team members before or at the next Team meeting.
It shall be the purpose and procedure of the Team to analyze each individual domestic abuse death with a view toward developing measures that may prevent similar circumstances from resulting in a future death. It shall not be the purpose and procedure of the Team to attempt to identify liability or blame in the death being reviewed.
The Team shall take no action that may tend to interfere with the investigative process or in the prosecution of a pending criminal case and will defer to the District Attorney General for a determination of the scope of review.
The Team, when deemed appropriate, is authorized to publish recommendations that may improve the quality or effectiveness of any program, service or investigative technique designed to provide service and assistance to domestic abuse victims. Such recommendations may be in writing or presented orally. The Team shall consider publishing on an annual basis a statistical report of its activities.
The Director of Law or a designee of the Director from the Department of Law shall serve as legal advisor of the team.
ORDERED, EFFECTIVE AND ISSUED:
Metropolitan County Mayor
Date: February 24, 2016