Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by outstanding Troopers and members of the criminal justice and advocacy communities who have taught me the importance of investigations that are victim centered, trauma informed and offender focused, and helped me understand the challenges that survivors face.
In 2007 I was a member of the commission working on New Hampshire’s first human trafficking law, Senate Bill 194. While we were aware of a high profile labor trafficking case that had occurred there were no widespread human trafficking cases in New Hampshire at the time. We never imagined that we would be faced with today’s opiate crisis and how the two issues would intersect.
The increase in opiate abuse and drug trafficking has led to an increase in the criminal sexual exploitation of women and children which is a lucrative business for drug traffickers. It doesn’t stop there, as those who are addicted put the addiction first as opposed to their families and loved ones who often suffer.
I can’t stress how important it is that we understand how the issues of domestic violence, child and elder abuse, sexual assault, trafficking and addiction are connected and must be addressed as early as possible because while lives may be saved – too often lives are lost.
A recent New York Times article titled To Stop Violence, Start at Home stated:
“The pattern is striking; men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed. Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was suspected of carrying out the bombing of the Boston Marathon, he was arrested for beating his girlfriend.
A recent study found that more than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member. With so much at stake, responding to violence against women should be a top priority for everyone.
Research tells us that violence is a learned behavior. By intervening early and stopping violence in the home, we ensure the safety of the women and children who are the first victims. We can also take steps to make it harder for perpetrators to go on to commit additional crimes, whether inside or outside the home.”
I am pleased to tell you that while many of these problems may seem too great to tackle or overcome the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Community truly does work well together and is dedicated to collaborating with our statewide partners to prevent abuse. As we have made great progress with interviewing child victims, the same holds true for those who have been trafficked and exploited.
The New Hampshire State Police are committed to supporting efforts to stop domestic and sexual violence and I am proud that our Family Services Unit is embedded in our Major Crimes Unit. We will continue to work closely with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and crisis centers in investigating crimes, giving guidance on legislation and developing training programs for our Troopers and Detectives in the field.
We have made tremendous strides in the past 30 years strengthening our laws and identifying and closing loopholes that exist but there will always be new emerging threats to respond to. The New Hampshire State Police still has more work to do and the Troopers embrace the challenge and stand committed to doing it.
Some of the initiatives and programs that we are working on include:
- Training troopers on the domestic violence Lethality Assessment Program (LAP).
- We have started a Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) who are highly skilled State Troopers that can identify and disrupt the flow of dangerous drugs. However, while that is important, we must also cross train them to identify potential victims of human trafficking.
- I have signed Memorandums of Understanding with all of the multidisciplinary Sexual Assault Resource Teams (SARTs) in our state and I know this is an area where we need to increase our training and awareness across the Division.
- We are currently working on a proposal to create a new State Police position assigned to the Family Services section of Major Crime Unit to assist in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases in our most rural areas.
I think we have all had times in our lives where we were nervous to address a crowd or maybe felt a little embarrassed of something that had happened in our own lives. For the victims of assault in high profile cases I am aware of how difficult it must be to go through the long, public and often painful process of reliving an event or series of events that no one should ever experience. The network of advocates in our state who stand beside these victims, helping them navigate the criminal justice process are an incredibly important part the healing process. Equally important is the response from a victim’s family, friends and community, which includes our men and women officers in the field.
It is not only my career in law enforcement that inspires me to support the work to end domestic and sexual violence. As a man fortunate to have a wonderful family including two daughters, I am committed to making New Hampshire a safe place for all families. This includes supporting efforts to make perpetrators of abuse accountable and ensuring that survivors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Colonel Robert Quinn has been the Director of the New Hampshire State Police since 2010. Since joining the State Police as a Trooper in 1995, Colonel Quinn has served as Lieutenant of Troop A, Captain of Troops A and E, Sergeant of the Narcotics Investigation Unit and as Assistant Unit Commander for the Special Investigations Unit, which included supervising the state's sex offender registry. He is a graduate of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Academy and the FBI National Academy. In 2015 he was inducted into the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Hall of Fame for his efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
To Stop Violence Start at Home
Human Trafficking – The Polaris Project
Substance abuse and trauma
Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking – A Survivor’s Perspective