Months before he allegedly stabbed his wife and another woman to death, and injured a third, Justin Dallas was served an order of protection. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us about the challenges authorities face enforcing the orders.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- The stabbing deaths of Brandy Dallas and Samantha Rainwater are a sad reminder of the limitations to orders of protection.
"An order of protection is not a magic shield. It doesn't stop a bullet, it doesn't stop a fist, it doesn't stop a knife," said Onondaga County First Chief Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio.
A stay away order was served to Brandy Dallas' husband, Justin Dallas, following a domestic violence incident in July. First Chief ADA Rick Trunfio says Brandy Dallas requested that be changed to an order allowing partial contact because of their children.
"Obviously, what happened yesterday, it didn't matter if there's a stay away or partial order that wasn't going to stop what he did," Trunfio said.
That's where a major challenge lies.
"Typically, most people arrested for domestic violence are out in the community. Most of them aren't in jail. So enforcing that order of protection requires the person wanting to be lawful," said Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman.
Law enforcement officials say the orders can be useful tools in the fight against domestic violence. For those they're served to, they make normally legal behavior illegal in an attempt to keep them away from victims.
"That allows police to literally walk into a public venue and say, 'Okay, you can't be here per this order of protection. If you are here, you're going to get arrested,'" said Chief John Balloni with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office says one of the challenges for them is getting people to take part in programs like the Order of Protection Notification System.
"The worst thing that can happen from our perspective is that somebody gets out of jail that's a danger to a victim and nobody is advised of that," said Chief Balloni.
Bregman says New York's come a long way both with legislation and programs designed to better protect victims, but there's still a ways to go.
"Most fundamentally, what we need to continue to focus on is the primary prevention: trying to change a culture and a society that has allowed this behavior to go on for so long," said Bregman.
In the meantime, authorities say better education is needed to let victims know what resources are available.
Vera House offers multiple services for victims of domestic violence, including emergency shelter and a 24 hour crisis hotline. To learn more,visit this link.
For more information about the SAVIN-NY program, which alerts victims of domestic violence when orders of protection are served, visit this link.
To learn about the VINE program, which alerts people to when offenders are released from prison, visit this link.