Memorial Day weekend: 11 domestic violence arrests in St. George area

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Police arrested 11 people on suspicion of domestic violence in Washington County over Memorial Day weekend.

Five of the 11 individuals are facing charges of violence in the presence of children, and two people are facing charges of intoxication, according to officials.

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“You have the stressors of our current environment and you add in alcohol or drugs, and you’re gonna have more calls for service. It’s just the nature of the environment we’re in right now,” St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin told ABC4 News.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Atkins said the St. George Police Department has been citing and releasing some domestic violence abusers who are not believed to be an immediate threat to the lives of survivors.

But now that Southwest Utah has moved to “yellow” low-risk phase, authorities said they’re less concerned about overwhelming local jails and are arresting individuals on all domestic violence charges, which they say could contribute to a possible spike in arrests in the coming weeks.

“We would like zero arrests, but we know that’s not an attainable goal,” Atkin said.

RELATED: St. George police taking extra precautions with domestic violence calls during COVID-19

St. George police officers said they’re still assessing the number of personnel they send out to a call for service to protect themselves and the public from potential COVID-19 exposure but will send at least two officers to every domestic violence call.

The Dove Center, Washington County’s nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, is emphasizing social distancing but is still providing legal and health counseling through video technology and a 24-hour-helpline at 435-628-0458.

Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or udvc.org. If you or someone else is in immediate danger or in an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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