Bush signs law to help fight police domestic violence
By Peggy Andersen
Corvallis Gazette-Times, Associated Press writer
Last modified Thursday, January 5, 2006
President Bush signing
the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization
Act of 2005 in the Oval Office on January 5th, 2006, in Washington.
From left are Rep. Mark Green, R- Wisc., first lady Laura Bush,
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R- Utah, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R- Wisc., Bush,
Rep. Richard Larsen, D-Wash., and Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif.
SEATTLE — Lane Judson promised his daughter on her deathbed that he
would do something to protect families of police officers from domestic
violence. On Thursday, President Bush signed legislation aiming to do
Crystal Judson Brame, a mother of two, was 35 when she was mortally
wounded by her husband, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame, before he
killed himself on April 26, 2003, in a shopping center parking lot. She
died a week later.
“If we can just save one life out of this — that’s what we’re after,"
her father told The Associated Press Thursday in a telephone interview
from his home in Gig Harbor. “Something good had to come out of this
The Brame protocol, now a provision of the 1994 Violence Against Women
Act, would provide up to $186 million in grants to law enforcement
agencies to educate officers and supervisors, and provide trained
advocates for victims, said Christine Hanson in the office of Rep. Jay
The provision, part of a larger program of training grants for law
enforcement, is the first federal law addressing domestic violence
within police ranks, Hanson said.
“Let’s bring this out of the closet," Judson said. “That’s where sex
harassment and racism were 20, 30 years ago. ... I just think it needs
to be brought out and looked at."
Judson and his wife, Patty, have worked since Crystal’s death to light
up the darkness surrounding domestic violence among the nation’s law
officers. They led a successful push for state legislation requiring
police agencies to adopt tough policies regarding domestic violence
among officers was signed into law in March 2004.
Three years ago, some Tacoma officials were aware there were problems
with the police chief’s marriage. The couple had filed for divorce, and
there were allegations of domestic violence on both sides. No one
intervened. Some officials later said they considered the Brames’
marital difficulties a private matter.
“Domestic violence is not a private matter," said Judson, 70, a retired
Boeing manager. “Domestic violence is a crime. ... It costs this
country billions of dollars each year. It’s an epidemic."
If domestic violence among the nation’s 800,000 police officers occurs
at the 10 percent rate estimated for the general population, some
studies say the police rate is four times that, then 80,000 families
are in trouble.
Many departments believe the issue is covered by general policies
related to criminal behavior by officers. But studies indicate that
many officers feel marital problems are private — and they feel
protective of fellow officers, resulting in special difficulties with
both enforcement and safe shelter.
“If you’re the one who’s supposed to be protecting citizens and
upholding the law, then you shouldn’t be breaking it," Judson said.
The Judsons have learned a lot about domestic violence in police ranks
since their daughter’s death. The Judsons said Crystal told them that
when she spoke of going to the police, David Brame would say something
like, “Go ahead and call the police. I am the police. Who’s going to
In their fight for change, the Judsons enlisted family, friends and
concerned people around the country to sign letters sent off to members
of Washington’s congressional delegation. Most of the envelopes were
hand-addressed and stamped by Patty Judson. At least 10,000 were sent.
Police organizations also backed the legislation, including the
International Association of Chiefs of Police, which has established a
model domestic-violence program for police agencies.
In December, the family got word that the Crystal Judson Brame Domestic
Violence Protocol Program had passed the Senate and was going to the
House one week before Christmas.
The office of U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., advised them to watch
C-SPAN the next day. The whole family got together to watch — including
her sister’s family and Crystal’s children, Haley, 11, and David, 8,
who witnessed the shooting.
“The children just couldn’t believe it — to hear their mama’s name brought up on the floor of the U.S. House," Judson recalled.
On Dec. 22, Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and U.S. Rep. Norm
Dicks, D-Wash, honored the Judsons for their efforts, which also helped
create the Crystal Judson Domestic Violence Center that opens Jan. 20
to provide counseling, referrals for shelter and related services for
Pierce County residents.