A local non-profit is expanding a program in an effort to help break the cycle of domestic violence. For the past year, Safe Nest has been working with Metro Police to dispatch trained volunteers to emergency calls.
The Raiders made a donation Thursday to help grow the program from one area command to three. Project Safe 417 helps domestic violence victims immediately after an incident.
The cause is very personal to a former NFL player.
“It was difficult and you kind of block it out,” said Leo Gray, former Raiders player.
For the first time, Gray is publicly speaking about his childhood experience with domestic violence.
“My dad was one of those dads and I was fortunate enough to be able to be strong enough; having a strong mom, a strong-willed mom to get out of that situation, out of that environment,” Gray said.
Gray presented Safe Nest with a $20,000 check to help train 250 volunteers for the non-profit’s Project Safe 417 program.
“That’s the Raider way,” Gray said. “Even though the Raiders aren’t here, right now, they are here.”
PS417 launched as a pilot program in December 2017 at Metro’s northwest area command. The partnership allows volunteers to respond to domestic violence calls and help victims with safety planning, information on their legal options, and more.
The goal is to break the dangerous cycle.
“That means that victims that were a victim yesterday are not a victim again tomorrow,” said Capt. Sasha Larkin, Metro Police’s Northwest Area Command. “We’re trying to stop repeat victims.”
Captain Larkin says domestic violence murders in her area command have gone down from six in 2017 to one in 2018. 911 calls for these kinds of emergency have also gone down more than 3 percent.
So far, the program has a 92 percent success rate when it comes to reducing the number of repeat victims.
“It is exciting anytime we can bring the community together to celebrate success in what is otherwise a fairly horrific epidemic in our community,” said Liz Ortenburger, CEO of Safe Nest.
The additional funding will help expand the services to Metro’s spring valley and bolden area commands centers.
“The things that I heard today were really touching which got me to open up about and talk about some of the stuff that I went through,” Gray said.
The program launched last week at the bolden and spring valley area commands, but they are in dire need of more volunteers.
For more information on how you can volunteer go here.