From the look on his face, New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart had no idea why he was being summoned into City Council Chambers on a random Wednesday morning in June.
He had no idea that this was a moment one year in the making, thanks to Lynn Needs – who was sitting quietly in the corner of the room.
Needs is the Director of the Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program of West Pasco. She works closely with Chief Bogart and his New Port Richey Police Department.
It was Needs who first told us about the Chief, giving his 42 officers more resources and on-going domestic violence training than most local departments receive. It’s something a humble Bogart has never taken credit for.
Experts agree it’s that kind of training that builds bridges between officers responding to DV cases and the victims on the scene. There's so much “brainwashing” that happens between abusers and their victims. It's the reason why so many cases are never reported.
Several community leaders call the chief's concern for DV victims a “game changer” at the New Port Richey Police Department, from the top-down.
The Florida Coalition Against DV, which oversees that state’s 42 certified DV centers says that’s no small thing when you consider the importance of 'earning a victim's trust.' Care and compassion on the officer's end, means more reporting by victims. Statistically only half of cases are ever reported.
So this past June, six years after creating the Taking Action Against Domestic Violence Officer of the Year Award, ABC Action News made Bogart our choice in 2016.
He becomes our first police chief ever to receive the award and the first recipient outside of Hillsborough county.
Also new this year, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the philanthropic arm of our parent company, awarded $2,400 in community grants in honor of Chief Bogart.
The two community grants of $1,200 each were presented to the Sunrise of Pasco and Salvation Army DV Program of West Pasco – the state certified DV centers serving Pasco county.
The Scripps Howard Foundation grants, earmarked for the victims’ rights advocate and Invest programs, were in the hands of local advocates October 1, coinciding with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In part two of our special coverage with Chief Bogart, we show you what happened when he visited the ABC Action News studio and newsroom in Hillsborough county and what he revealed during our sit down interview to learn why he cares about this issue so deeply.