That doesn't mean the assessments work, or that they don't. Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University are evaluating the local results. Whether we can take credit for that, I'm not sure," Smialek said.
Her answers to the questions didn't meet the threshold to be considered high risk, but an officer checked a box asking that the case be reviewed by the team.
Smialek said she couldn't share specifics of the case.
Dale Peters, her former boyfriend of nine years, broke into Fruscella's home and slit her throat days before a hearing on a domestic violence charge, police said.
Fruscella's case was assessed by officers using the danger questionnaire.
The team, which has two detectives and one victim advocate, had to quickly scale back its work to cases in which the victims consented to have the team work on the case.
That happened in about 26 percent, or just over 150 cases, Smialek said.Charges against Peters in Fruscella's death are still pending.In between those cases, neither of the police districts involved had a domestic violence-related homicide, Smialek said.In first month, October 2016, 80 cases were evaluated as "high risk." That trend continued, and by the end of September 2017 more than 650 cases deemed "high risk" were referred to the team.(Not all high-risk cases are reviewed by the team if, for example, the primary crime being investigated is a sex offense or if it involves "cross complaints" of partner abuse.) The unexpectedly high number of cases left the team in "uncharted territory," said Jill Smialek, who heads the county's Victim/Witness Service and Family Justice Center.The questions, drawn from more than two decades of research into domestic violence cases that result in homicide, include: Officers also have the option of asking for "further review" of cases that don't meet the threshold, based on their own observations, instincts or other information that leads them to believe there's an elevated danger to the victim or family.