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Madeline Keegan O'Connell, the CEO of YWCA Sonoma County, stressed that the first thing anyone in an abusive relationship should do is call for help. The county's 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, run by the YWCA, is 546-1234. "To make that call is a huge first step," she said. The domestic violence hotline receives some 3,000 calls a year.

Sadly, there were no records of Baucom having called that number. "This incident led to more receptivity on our part to non-victims, to friends or family," said Keegan O'Connell. "It's up to every member of the community to provide information about domestic violence, not just the victim."

Spousal abuse remains an ongoing problem in Petaluma, in 2013 the police investigated 253 calls related to domestic violence. While Baucom's death didn't change how police respond to domestic violence cases, Special Operations Lt. Matthew Stapleton said Chief Patrick Williams put an added emphasis on the issue with a new policy when he arrived in October 2012: Daily Training Bulletins.

Every day they're on duty, officers are required to review policy reminders that reinforce their required response to sensitive situations such as discriminatory harassment and domestic violence, among others. It puts in the forefront of the officer's minds how to handle these often delicate disputes. For example, in cases of domestic violence with injury, the state penal code requires specific police action, even in situations where the victim does not want their abusers to be arrested.

"We have a very elaborate policy and expectation with respect to domestic violence, we treat it very seriously," said the 27-year Petaluma Police Department veteran. "Quite frankly, it's embarrassing how we treated it in law enforcement in the '80s, when I started."

Things are different now, he said. "Domestic violence is unacceptable, it is criminal and we will take action when we become aware of it. Meaning enforcement, arrest and prosecution."

Some changes since the April 2012 murder-suicide have taken place on a more personal, community level. At Meadow Elementary School, where Baucom taught second grade for over 12 years, she had been helping design an outdoor "common ground" garden, with tables and benches, flower beds and succulents. After she was killed, Principal Melissa Becker said the garden was rededicated in her memory — "as a place of healing for her family and friends, and to honor the light she was in the world."

(Contact Christian Kallen at argus@arguscourier.com)