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Possible changes may come to domestic violence police procedures in Sandy

SANDY – The shooting death of Memorez Rackley and her six-year-old son are sparking possible changes in how the Sandy Police Department handles cases of domestic violence.

Department heads say, currently, state domestic violence laws protect people who are cohabitating, but, not those that live separately.  Sandy Police Chief Kevin Thacker says, technically, the threats made by Jeremy Patterson to Rackley didn’t qualify as domestic violence, so officers never started their lethality assessment protocol.  However, Thacker also says it’s not certain that protocol would have saved Rackley.  Thacker says they followed Rackley’s wishes after she called them.  “At that time, all she wanted was for us to contact that person and tell him to stop harassing her, which we did,” he says.

Rackley was also given other options for her own safety, but Thacker says they weren’t allowed to force her to accept those options.  “She wanted to stay home.  We offered the extra patrols in her neighborhood and in her area.  We told her, “It would probably be good if you were to find somewhere else to go tonight.’”

Thacker says his department is now looking into expanding the use of their lethality assessment protocol to include dating couples.  Meanwhile, Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence Director Ned Searle says they hope to change domestic violence laws to include partners who don’t live in the same home, plus, he wants to change the state code regarding stalking injunctions.  “It’s fairly old.  It probably needs some updating,” Searle says.