AWARE Program Launched

Communications Deputy Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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AWARE Program Launched

Posted: 08/23/2006
A program that has received national acclaim for its efforts to assist in the protection of victims of domestic violence was launched in Knox County. Called AWARE (Abused Women's Active Response Emergency), the program places security systems and emergency necklace pendants in the residences of battered or abused victims.

Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff's Office, the Knox County District Attorney General's Office, the 4th Circuit Court Judge's Office, the Family Justice Center, the Coalition on Family Violence, the Knoxville Mayor's Office and ADT Security Services, Inc. will operate the program as a collaborative effort.

"This unique program features the cooperation of public and private sectors of the community. Law enforcement officials involved in the AWARE Program are convinced that it will help curtail the number of domestic violence crimes that occur in Knox County," said Sheriff Tim Hutchison, Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Chief Sterling Owen, IV of the Knoxville Police Department noted, "We believe this program has the potential to make victims of domestic violence safer in our community - a vital part of our law enforcement mission."

After people who meet the necessary criteria are placed in the program, ADT will install, at no charge, security systems in each of their homes and provide them with emergency duress alarms for as long as the need exists. The system can send a silent alarm, when activated, to ADT's customer monitoring center.

If a person involved in the program feels in imminent danger of attack, he or she presses either the pendant or the emergency button on the security system panel mounted in their home. ADT operators can then alert the appropriate law enforcement agency an AWARE call has been received. Officers will then be dispatched to the victim's residence on a priority basis.

"Participants in the AWARE program are victims of domestic abuse and have been assessed to be in the highest level of danger. The necklace pendants will serve as another tool to use in life-threatening situations," said Amy Dilworth, Executive Director, Family Justice Center. Kathryn O'Day, Co-Chair, Coalition on Family Violence added, "If a victim is unable to get to the telephone, having access to the pendant alarm could potentially save their life."

ADT Security SystemThe plan calls for a system of rotating the security systems and pendants into the residences of other "at-risk" individuals.

ADT Security Services has been in business in Knox County for more than 95 years, increasing business as the area has grown. "Being part of the AWARE program is a natural extension of our support of the community and our concern for the growing incidence of domestic violence nationwide," noted Bill Fairbanks, Branch Manager, ADT Security Services, Inc.

"The AWARE program has been extremely successful nationwide. ADT has introduced it in one hundred and seventy-seven cities across the country since January 1992. Our decision to offer AWARE in Knox County was due to the intense interest expressed by the community," Fairbanks added.

ADT has plans to expand this program to even more cities in the U.S. during the coming year. A similar program has been running successfully in a number of Canadian cities for the past fifteen years.

Celebrating its 131st anniversary, ADT Security Services, Inc., a unit of Tyco Fire & Security, is the largest provider of electronic security services to more than six million commercial, government and residential customers throughout the United States. ADT's total security solutions include intrusion, fire protection, closed circuit television, access control, critical condition monitoring, electronic article surveillance, radio frequency identification and integrated systems. ADT's web site address is www.adt.com