Ask The Mayor: West Lafayette's John Dennis

Oct 2, 2014

The mayor says the city is planning education programs aimed at combating domestic violence.
Credit City of West Lafayette

West Lafayette mayor John Dennis says there are still improvements to make in the way law enforcement deals with domestic violence situations, but he’s not sure that should include enhanced mandatory minimum sentences.

"If there's an understanding that there is a definitive penalty -- a non-defensible penalty -- for a specific act, does that enhance the severity of that act? And it's a question that we as a society don't really know yet," Dennis says.

Dennis spoke to WBAA’s “Ask the Mayor” a day after Lafayette and West Lafayette leaders signed a proclamation designed to crack down on domestic abuse. Dennis, former police officer, says a domestic dispute was once considered a conflict between a man and a woman that would eventually dissipate.

But he says more emphasis must be placed on the prevention of domestic violence, rather than combatting it with punitive measures such as arrest and jail time. Dennis says police and sociologists have long worried longer mandatory sentences would lead to increased violence by an offender who already knows they’re headed for jail.