FARMINGTON — The Franklin County sheriff is providing a “safe zone” for people involved in domestic violence situations who have to meet to exchange property, paperwork or children.

The zone also offers a public place for people who have done bartering on the internet and are meeting with an unknown party to make an exchange to complete the deal.

The zone allows people to meet under the protection of cameras between the Sheriff’s Office and the Regional Communications Center on County Way.

Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said he is not talking about those situations in which a protection order is in place or no contact provisions have been ordered by a court. If anyone has any concerns about their situation prior to using the safe zone, they should contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 778-2680.  

Domestic violence is prevalent in the area, he said Monday.

“My guys do a lot of security details where they stand by when people have issues and they need to exchange property,” he said.

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The “safe zone” should provide security for those times when relationships have broken down but contact still has to be made, Nichols said.

It is uncomfortable for some people who are in these types of situations and need to meet to exchange paperwork, belongings or even children for a visit. He has seen exchanges of children in which the two parties meet in a parking lot or other area and it becomes volatile, he said.

Nichols is hoping that by offering a safe place to meet, it will reduce some of the tension that can occur in these cases.

If something goes awry in any situation in view of the cameras, Nichols asks that people notify the Sheriff’s Department right away because the cameras recycle every two to three weeks.

“We may lose that image if we are not notified as soon as possible,” he said.

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