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Medford police arrest 7 in domestic violence sweep

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Medford police aren't about to let anyone forget it.

Medford police and probation officers from Jackson County Community Justice arrested seven people Tuesday evening on probation violations and outstanding warrants for domestic-violence-related crimes, said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. And police are on the hunt for a lot more.

"We were looking for 44 individuals, so there's still a lot of work to be done," Budreau said.

Arrested were:

  • Robert Bentley Eason, 50, on a parole violation for felony fourth-degree assault
  • Joshua Steven Ware, 32, on a parole violation for felony fourth-degree assault
  • Daniel Dewayne Plaza, 30, on a charge of violating a no-contact order
  • Zachary Brice May, 28, on a parole violation for identity theft
  • Stevie Raven Cortez, 24, on a parole violation for second-degree burglary
  • Makayla Ainsworth, 35, on a probation violation for unlawful use of a weapon and six counts of violating a no-contact order
  • Everett J. Comfort, 54, on a parole violation for felony DUII

Budreau said domestic violence crimes aren't limited to assault.

"A lot of people don't understand (that) burglary is whenever you enter a premises to commit a crime therein," Budreau said. "When you break in to harass or intimidate your significant other, that's burglary."

He said the Medford Police Department usually conducts sweeps for domestic violence offenders each October to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month but tries to be proactive year round. According to department statistics, police arrested 338 people last year on domestic violence charges, with 142 of the cases involving felony charges. 

When officers make an arrest in a domestic violence case, Budreau said, it's not nearly as simple as a straightforward property crime might be, because of the emotional investment in the relationship between victim and suspect.

"We are unique here at MPD because we have an actual domestic violence advocate here to address victims of domestic violence," he said. The department also has a full-time domestic violence officer to follow up in criminal cases.

"That's pretty much unheard of at any agency, at least around here," he said.

The department tracks domestic violence cases year-to-year across a variety of scenarios, from spouse against spouse to children against parents, though cases involving crimes of violence against a girlfriend or boyfriend are by far the most common.

In too many cases, serious domestic assaults or homicides are the result of a pattern that was never interrupted.

"When things go awry, they go awry pretty badly," he said. "Especially when we look at the homicides that happen here locally, the vast majority of them are domestic-violence-related."

Budreau said that though police take a victim-centered approach to domestic violence cases, there are options for abusers looking to change.

"A lot of these cases are alcohol-related, and once you take the alcohol out of it, (the situation) is not as violent," he said. Methamphetamine addiction is also often an issue locally.

"There are some programs through probation they (offenders) are able to attend that help them deal with alcohol, anger, other issues," he said. Community Justice administers a 36-week state-mandated course for people convicted of domestic violence called the Domestic Abuse Alternative Program, intended to get abusers to take responsibility for their behavior.

One of the biggest challenges faced by police and social services, though, is just keeping abusers and victims separate.

"Otherwise, the cycle will continue with that victim or onto someone else," Budreau said. "That's something we want to avoid."

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471 or tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.