Crystal police had responded to only one domestic-related call from a home on Yates Avenue North back in 2010. The next call to bring police to that home on July 12 would be tragic.
"We received a call from the suspect’s son, saying he’d received a call from his father saying he’d shot and killed his mother," says Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering.
After a SWAT team standoff, 56-year-old Dennis Sandland surrendered peacefully. The criminal complaint says he spoke, unprompted, to several people as he was booked, saying how angry he had been with his wife before shooting her in the head. He has been charged with second degree murder for the death of 53-year-old Sandra Sandland.
"This is a horrible tragedy for this poor family. Domestic violence, unfortunately, is so underreported," says Chief Revering. "We do arrest someone weekly for domestic assault, unfortunately."
Each week the Crystal Police Department has an advocacy group called Cornerstone
that also reaches out to suspected victims.
"The reason I’m really passionate about this career is that I know everyday when I get up, I am doing something that really matters. That is really important to me," says Jena R who works with Cornerstone. "If I ever need to contact or reach a participant, we can go out and meet with the person in their home and remove some of those barriers from being able to leave a violent relationship and provide that confidential support."
Jena says she doesn’t advise the people she works with, but instead supports them. Her work differs from that of a shelter because she doesn’t wait for domestic violence participants to reach out, but instead reaches out after information from police reports come in.
Chief Stephanie Revering says if people suspect something is wrong in their neighborhood and there is a possible domestic violence situation, they should pick up the phone and call.
"Our message is to make sure if neighbors see or hear anything that is domestic related, they intervene and call 911," says Chief Revering. "It’s very important."
Cornerstone also works with police departments in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove and Robbinsdale. The Minnesota Day One hotline for domestic violence is 1-866-223-1111.
Shannon Slatton, firstname.lastname@example.org
on Twitter: @sslatton
July 14, 2017