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New study reveals domestic situations are extremely deadly for police officers

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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. -

Nearly a quarter of police officer deaths happen when responding to domestic calls. That is according to a study by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The study focused on 91 line-of-duty deaths over a five-year period and found that 22 percent of the officers died while responding to domestic disputes.

In Marshall County, Sheriff Kevin Cecil says they are responding to domestic calls at least once a day. 

"They're so unpredictable. When you go into that, you've always got to think the worst and that it's the most dangerous call," said Sheriff Cecil. 

Why are these calls so dangerous for officers? Sheriff Cecil said responding to a domestic usually means the officers will walk into a lot of anger or violence, and adding a police presence creates a dynamic in which the officers are seen as the combatants. 

The study also said that a third of the officers that were killed in domestic situations responded alone.

However, this goes against the policy of many departments that require at least two officers to respond in each situation.

"We will not send one officer to a domestic. It is policy in our department to respond with at least two officers and more if available," said Sheriff Cecil.

Dispatchers also have an important job in keeping officers safe.

When receiving a domestic call, they ask the caller a series of questions to find out exactly how the situation escalated or if there are any weapons.

They can also look up any past history or concealed carry permits. 

Officials encourage you to always call the police if you are in a violent situation, and remember the officers are there to help.

"Obviously we want to stop violence or get people out of certain situations and things like that, but we find ourselves being counselors and sometimes medics and policemen and just a variety of fields. But those are the situations you're thrust into," said Sheriff Cecil.

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