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STOP Funding

Grant helps sheriff's office battle violence against women.

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THOUGH SOME federal funding to curb violence against women has itself been curbed, the Shelby County sheriff's office was recently awarded $72,000 as part of the law-enforcement component to help abused women.

Earlier this month, U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft announced $117 million in STOP Violence Against Women formula grants nationwide. Though it was almost $300,000 less than last year, Tennessee received $2.2 million to fund state programs, including the YWCA of Greater Memphis and the Memphis Sexual Assault Center.

But this year's grant is the first for the sheriff's office. Spokesman Steve Shular said the funds will pay for serving orders of protection in a more timely manner and educating officers on how to serve those orders.

"We want to improve the response time in getting orders of protection served," said Shular. "Once the judge signs the paper, there should be no delay because we're dealing with someone's safety."

But the person who serves those papers could also be in jeopardy. Last August, Memphis police officer Anthony Woods was shot and killed answering a domestic-violence call.

"The important thing is for them to understand the dynamics of the home," said Shular. "There's a high degree of emotions when papers like this are delivered. We're going to teach them to handle the situation more than just going out and saying, 'Here are your papers, sir.'" n

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