Department partners with Women’s Center in two courses, One taught at the Academy, the other to run to raise funds

Tom Kennedy

Members of HPD’s Special Victims Division, led by Capt. Dana Hitzman, participated in the Feb. 25 Race Against Violence, a fundraiser for the Houston Area Women’s Center, the department’s partner in a mandatory in-service class on family violence and sexual assault.

“The event was great,” Hitzman said, “and everyone was so impressed with our shirts! We had over 40 people register for the team and the Houston Area Women’s Center was both impressed and appreciative of the support.

“We work closely with HAWC during sexual assault and family violence investigations and it was a great opportunity to bring awareness to these issues.”

Capt. Hitzman said the HPD participants included not only Special Victims officers but also others from Auto Theft and Alternative Dispute Resolutions.

“We had HPD personnel, officers and counselors and their families,” Hitzman said. “We work closely with them in family violence and sexual assault cases.”

The department has worked closely with the Women’s Center over a number of years. The four-hour in-service class at the academy teaches the neurobiology of trauma and – in the captain’s words – how to improve our response to sexual assault and family violence.”

Chou Nguyen, spokeswoman for HAWC, said the aim of the Race Against Violence was to raise a portion of the overall fundraising goal of

$275,000. Nguyen was excited to stress the HPD/HAWC partnership.

She said that the class at the academy will take giant steps toward “ensuring all officers will be trained by our staff on how to respond to domestic violence calls and to understand the neurobiology of trauma – in other words, what to know about victims when responding.”

Announcement concerning the in-service course came in a recent press conference with HAWC and Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was the honorary chairman of the event.

The race drew 3,000 participants in the 29th annual event. The 3K event covered a route bounded by Waugh Drive (near HAWC offices), West Dallas and Allen Parkway.