Schenectady officials search for high risk domestic violence offenders

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Keeping high risk offenders away from domestic violence victims is a top priority for the Schenectady Police Department.

Schenectady police and city and county officials are working together to protect victims from offenders. Police are trying to arrest domestic violence offenders labeled as high risk based on a new lethality assessment.

The assessment questions offenders’ history such as having a past domestic violence record or making threats with a weapon. Police use the list to determine if those accused of domestic violence could be likely to kill their victim.

The assessment has labeled 33 people as high risk.

“Friday, a bunch of detectives and some police officers went out and attempted to serve some warrants,” Schenectady Police Lt. Mark McCracken said.

Police found three of the 12 high risk men they were looking for. Kim Siciliano is the Director of Women and Family Services at the YWCA Northeastern New York. She said tracking down offenders is not an easy job.

“They are very good at hiding,” she said.

A reorganized city task force is working closely with Schenectady police, the sheriff’s department, probation, and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.

Wendi Gapczynski-Bekkering is a high risk advocacy coordinator at the YWCA.

“Three out of 12 is terrific,” she said. “It’s a great team that goes out. We look hard. We go to every address that we possibly have.”

Barbara Bordeau has been at a shelter for victims of domestic abuse for a few weeks. She believes the task force is helping.

“It saves lives; bottom line,” she said.

Bordeau said her abuser hurt her mentally rather than physically.

“I felt jailed,” she said. “Like I was confined; jailed.”

Bordeau said she wasn’t allowed to speak or do routine things.

“I could not cook,” she said. “I could not bathe.”

Coordinators at the YWCA said they will continue to track down high risk offenders and offer help to victims like Bordeau.

“We will keep looking,” Gapczynski-Bekkering said.

They YWCA of Northeastern New York said it served over 2,500 victims of domestic violence in 2014.

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