West Bloomfield Township is in the process of establishing a Domestic Violence Task Force in order to host a domestic violence seminar and develop survival handbook materials.
Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste said the task force is being formed in response to the murder of Sergeant Patrick O’Rourke, who was murdered on Sept. 8 during a police response at a township residence involving a barricaded gunman who eventually took his own life.
O’Rourke and four other officers were responding to reports of shots fired at a house in the 4000 block of Forest Edge Lane.
Last month also marked National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
One of the task force’s members, township Trustee Steve Kaplan, said that a one-time, two-hour seminar will be set up to provide information to residents about dealing with aspects of domestic violence, such as where a woman can go after leaving a volatile relationship and what the triggers are for domestic violence.
Kaplan said that the task force hopes to hold the seminar in January at the West Bloomfield Township Library and that more seminars could be held.
“Domestic violence calls are very dangerous for law enforcement, usually because the assailant is under the influence (of alcohol and/or drugs),” Kaplan said.
He added that the second aspect of the task force is to find out if there’s an increase in domestic violence in the township and what it can do to help.
Crisis management consultant Dr. Kenneth Wolf, who has been advising the township since O’Rourke’s death, is also a member of the task force.
The township will also seek insight from organizations such as HAVEN (Help Against Violent Encounters Now) and the West Bloomfield Coalition for the Youth.
Ureste said the township has seen nearly 260 cases of domestic violence occur this year, with increased gunfire and threats to township police officers and the public.