Police agencies throughout the state cracked down on domestic violence Wednesday, and Gov. Janet Napolitano said that in Arizona the crime is among the highest in the nation.
"We have not, should not, and cannot ignore domestic violence as the No. 1 violent crime in Arizona," Napolitano told a group of about 10 at the state Capitol. October is domestic violence awareness month.
Napolitano and others in attendance, including Mesa Police Chief Dennis Donna and Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler and Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks, wore purple ribbons to raise awareness.
Since last year, the state has been implementing a program to prevent domestic violence through education campaigns and to make offenders more accountable.
Last year, there were 100 domestic violence deaths reported. There have been 72 domestic violence related deaths reported in Arizona so far this year, Napolitano said.
In t he crackdowns Wednesday, 42 Arizona police agencies participated, serving 318 warrants and arresting more than 250 on domestic violence-related offenses. Also, 75 orders of protection were served, Donna said.
Among those arrested Wednesday morning was a teary-eyed woman who said her arrest by Tempe police prevented her child from getting to school. "Yes, this caught me off guard," said Elena Esteele of Tempe. "I was taking my son to school and they arrested me for breaking my house window."
One-third of the arrests in Tempe are for women, and many people get arrested for breaking something in the heat of an argument, Sgt. Dan Masters said.
Mesa police plan to hand out domestic violence information during block parties. The department has developed a rapid response program for domestic violence and victim services.
- Tribune writer Kristina Davis contributed to this report.