Over the years it has been our experience that way too often uniformed patrol officers are not well-trained in how to investigate a stalking scenario. Therefore, at least initially many stalking complaints are by passed. That is why it is best for the victims of stalking to contact someone in their local jurisdictions detective division that is hopefully tasked with how a stalking investigation should transpire. Unfortunately, especially due to department assets, or lack there of, not enough detectives have the requisite training to properly investigate a stalking case. That does not mean they do not want to help the victims of stalking, but their training is lacking. In fact, I was just contacted by a new detective who was requesting a copy of our stalking protocol, which is utilized all or in part by many law enforcement entities both in the United States and abroad. He said he felt bad, but that as a uniformed patrol officer he had let a number of potential stalking cases slip by primarily because he wasn’t sure how to conduct a preliminary investigation of same.
Some agencies like the Los Angeles Police Department have specialized units such as the TMU (Threat Management Unit) designed to handle stalking and other high profile type cases. Even though I was primarily a homicide detective, I also worked as the primary stalking detective in my department’s FPU (Family Protection Unit.) We strongly suggest that the best way to case manage a stalking case is via a special threat management unit within the police department. These units utilize detectives trained in stalking, as well as threat management. They should also be cross trained in sexual assault, and domestic violence. These teams also have access to mental health evaluators, along with social workers, and victim assistance case workers. They must also participate in the training of uniform patrol persons in how to best deal with an initial stalking investigation which is then immediately passed on to the detectives in the threat management unit for advanced case management. When you have a specialized threat management team, the victim is better served through a variety of techniques. Once the case is properly managed, the stalker is vertically prosecuted thus allowing for greater control and sentencing. Once again, this is all covered in Chapter 5 of Antidote For A Stalker. In short, stalking cases need a specific discipline to best handle both the needs of the victim as well as the intervention and prosecution of the stalker.