Worcester Superior Court Probation Officers Go Above and Beyond Their Duties To Aid Domestic Violence Victim
Worcester Superior Court Probation Officers Emilio Cruz and Lauren Hanley removed a domestic violence victim from harm’s way, worked with officials to arrange emergency housing for the victim, picked her children up from school, and tracked down her alleged abuser--resulting in his apprehension--all in the same day.
Last month, Hanley was meeting with Fernando Reyes at the courthouse when he suddenly bolted. Reyes was on probation for an Abuse Prevention order. While Reyes was on the run, he cut his GPS bracelet and allegedly contacted his victim and threatened her. The distraught victim contacted Hanley who arranged for the victim to come to court for her protection. Reyes allegedly continued to call the victim on her cell phone and threaten her, according to Cruz.
Hanley and Cruz called the local police and the coordinators of the Safe Plan initiative, which secures housing at an anonymous shelter for domestic violence victims. The two P.O.’s also alerted the local schools and family members of both parties to ensure their safety. Hanley and Cruz did not stop there. They and the police picked the children of the victim up at school and reunited them with their mother. The probationer was apprehended later that evening and is now being held without bail at the Worcester House of Correction.
Cruz said he worked through the day and evening to help the woman and her children while also collaborating with police to find the offender.
“I could not go to sleep at night knowing that this woman, her children, and family members might be in danger,” Cruz said.
Hanley said she too was very concerned for the safety of the woman and her children.
“The safety of the victim and her family was our goal. We are pleased that we were able to help her and satisfied to get the offender off the streets and before the court,” said Hanley.
Chief Probation Officer Thomas Turco and Assistant Chief Probation Officer Andrew Peck commended Cruz and Hanley for their efforts.
Turco said he is proud of the Probation Officers' actions and pleased with their collaborative efforts with local law enforcement.
“Our Probation Officers do great work--often without notice,” Turco said. “Because of our great collaboration with local police, we were able to help and protect this family as well as apprehend this individual.”
Peck added, “They orchestrated the whole thing. It was superb planning and organization. In the midst of chaos, they had presence of mind to help the victim and her family.”
According to Peck and Cruz, the offender continued to issue threats against the woman via cell phone while she was at the court. Cruz worked with authorities to find an anonymous homeless shelter for women who are domestic violence victims. Cruz continued to track the whereabouts of the offender until he was located. He was arrested at 6 the same evening.
“He was apprehended thanks to community connections, anonymous tips, and probation's relationship with law enforcement agencies,” Cruz said.
The threats, however, did not stop after the offender was apprehended, Peck and Cruz attest.
“The probationer began threatening the Probation Officers and police,” Peck said.
Do you know of a Probation Officer who has gone “Above and Beyond” their call of duty? Please forward their name, a brief description of the situation, as well as the person's contact information.
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