Law enforcement often enters a situation without any knowledge of what is happening except what they get from their dispatcher. They may have no clue about the history of the people involved or the full story about what is going on currently.
When it comes to a domestic violence situation, things can be even more nerve-wracking. Officers do not know if they are walking into something that could put them in danger, but their ultimate goal is to keep everyone safe. How they handle things will greatly depend on what is happening on the scene and the information they can gather. The Louisiana State Legislature explains state law dictates how officers should handle domestic violence calls, including whether they should arrest anyone.
One of the first things an officer wants to assess is if there is a protective order in place. If one exists, and there is a violation, then the officer will arrest the person in violation of the order. If the officers do not feel the party is in violation, then they can let them go.
Stop further abuse
The main goal of officers is to ensure everyone is safe. This means stopping the abuse by identifying the source. The instigator in the situation, if one is easily identifiable, will usually be the one officers put under arrest.
If they cannot identify the person or both parties are guilty, officers may try other means to separate them. Keep in mind that officers have the right to arrest anyone based on how they perceive the situation. So, they could arrest both parties if they believe it is the only way to stop abuse from continuing.
Officers will consider all evidence present, including statements by those involved and any witnesses when making a determination about who is the aggravating party. What they learn in this quick investigation will help them make the fairest decision in the matter.