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Paul Penzone: Restraining orders are tools, not protection

Many people in the Valley were discussing the apparent frailty of restraining orders Wednesday after a man killed his estranged wife, daughter and brother-in-law shortly after his order expired.

Former Phoenix Police Sgt. Paul Penzone dispelled the rumor that restraining orders scare everyone away.

“By no means do orders of protection provide you a level of safety,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday. “They do provide you with a level of security.”

Penzone said restraining orders can help when danger is imminent, but only if law enforcement can get there in time.

“You can’t treat that as though this will keep you safe,” he said. “It is truly your own instincts and abilities that will keep you safe from a threat of violence.”

People who have a restraining order in place can call police when they feel something bad is about to happen, but Penzone said police don’t have a large window to help.

“They’ll only give you about a 15-minute window,” he said, adding that they often get called away to other crimes.

Should the police leave and the dangerous person makes a move, Penzone said things can go bad quickly.

“The person who is intent on carrying out violence has all of the edges, all of the advantages, so it’s really more about survival than avoidance,” he said.

When it comes to restraining orders, particularly in Tuesday’s instance, Penzone said females are often the victim.

“Domestic violence will always be a plague on women primarily,” he said.

And Penzone has seen his fair share of cases of women being attacked as soon as the order of protection expires.

“There are a lot of cases that show that as soon as they expire, the women in those cases are extremely vulnerable in that short-term time frame.”

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