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Domestic Violence Survivor Writes Letter to Officers 17 Years Later

Earlier this month, the Minneapolis Police Department received the letter below from a woman named Valerie. On October 8th, 1999, she had an encounter with officers when she was a victim of domestic violence. She wanted to thank the officers for helping her that night, and giving her the encouragement she needed to get out of an abusive relationship. She didn’t know the officers names, but asked that we pass along the message to them. After learning that the officers still worked for the department, we invited her to say thank you in person. 

Today she got the chance to meet now Sergeant Steven McBride and Officer Heidi Eisenbies. 

They recounted the details of that night over 17 years ago, and got to hear about how that encounter changed her life. Officers rarely get to know what happens to victims like Valerie after they leave a call, or see the end result of their work, so it was rewarding to hear about how well she was doing.

While at the precinct she agreed to read her letter aloud for us, in hopes of encouraging other domestic violence victims seek help. 

Valerie’s Letter:

I know this is a long shot, but I really want to get a message to a special officer who changed my life. 

On October 8th, 1999, squad number 320 from precinct 3 responded to a domestic violence call.  The officers were able to get the situation under control and arrest my (then) husband.  While one officer handled the processing, the other officer talked to me.  He was very blunt, very honest, and yet remained professional and compassionate.  Unfortunately, I never caught his name.  He looked me in the eyes and told me that if they had to respond to another call at that address, that it would be to identify my body.  He told me I had to get out, and he begged me to not be another negative statistic that they have to deal with on a daily basis.  The card they gave me listed badge numbers 7619 & 4517. 

I really want him to know that he changed my life. I listened.  I filed an order for protection, and then the divorce papers.  I’m in a loving and amazing relationship now, and my days of being kicked around are long over.  Years ago I sent a letter to the precinct, but I’m not sure if he ever got it.  During this rough political climate, I again want to reach out and tell my story.  I will forever and always be grateful to the officers who responded to my call, and to ALL of the officers who risk their lives every single day so that I am able to sleep safely at night.

The MPD is always in my thoughts and prayers. The only way I know to pay them back is to continue to tell my story and say thank you whenever I can.

I’ve come a long way from being the 24 year old terrified woman that I was back then.  I owe my strength, my success, and my very life to that officer. 

If possible, I would love for those officers to see this.  If not, feel free to share with other officers.  What you do MATTERS!!!!

Forever in the debt of the MPD,

Valerie

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. If you, or anyone you know is in crisis, call the Minnesota statewide 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-866-223-1111, or the 24-hour metro crisis line at 612-379-6363. You can also get local resources at places like the Domestic Abuse Project (DAP, 612-874-7063).