Wareham Police welcome first domestic violence intern
According to Acting Police Chief John Walcek, the public isn't aware of how prevalent domestic violence cases are in Wareham.
"We aren't allowed to make these cases public under state law," Walcek explained. "But if people could see what we're dealing with, they'd be shocked."
In an effort to better combat such high rates of domestic violence, the Wareham Police Department will welcome its first domestic violence intern this summer. Cecila Brito of Carver will start work at the Wareham Police Department the week of July 9 thanks to the Plymouth County District Attorney's office and a grant from Quincy College.
Brito will be working one-on-one with victims of domestic violence, helping them access the resources they need.
"We've been looking for ways to lighten the load on our officers," said Walcek. "I know Cecila will be a great contribution to our team."
Brito's future duties with the department will include helping victims to fill out paper work such as restraining orders and affidavits. She'll also help victims to gain access to women's shelters.
Prior to the joining the Wareham Police Department, Brito worked in hospice care for over 30 years.
"I couldn't do it anymore physically," Brito explained. "But I still had a lot of compassion and empathy to give."
Brito returned to school at Quincy College, majoring in social work before switching criminal justice. Her professor helped to connect her to the Plymouth County District Attorny, and later, Wareham Police.
"I feel like instances of domestic violence are getting worse and worse," Brito said. "I switched my major because I realized it would be the best way to help others."
According to Walcek, Brito will work with victims of domestic violence both in person and on the phone. In person meetings will take place at the station for the time being, though Walcek said he hopes to have Brito join officers in the field.
"It's a huge undertaking when someone is in crisis," explained Plymouth County Domestic Violence Coordinator Kristen Cipullo. "Having someone like Cecila present and ready makes a world of difference."
Prior to Brito, officers at the department would juggle all aspects of domestic violence cases.
"Our call volume is massive," said Sgt. Walter Correia. "When we're busy trying to arrest someone in a domestic case, we can't always give the victim the proper time and attention they need."
With Brito on staff, the department will be able to check in regularly with victims.
"Not everyone is ready to leave their abuser right away," said Cipullo. "So someone who's going to work with victims over a period of time, judgement free, is essential."
Brito is set work with the Wareham Police Department for the next three months. After that, Walcek hopes to have domestic violence interns working within the department on a regular basis.
"Interns like Cecila are a huge asset to this department," Walcek said. "In cases like these, it's the people who make all the difference."