Dallas to Ready to Battle Domestic Violence

by Manju Alexander | Jan 22, 2013

Police will prioritize warrants for repeat and dangerous domestic violence offenders, city officials announce

by Sarah Mervosh

In the city’s latest move to combat domestic violence, Dallas police will now prioritize serving arrest warrants to repeat offenders and to abusers of victims believed to be in imminent danger.

Prioritizing arrest warrants for abusers who are flagged as particularly dangerous was one change announced Thursday afternoon at a city hall press conference. The chair of the city’s domestic violence task force, councilwoman Delia Jasso, said the city is working with Dallas police and local shelters to make changes to decrease domestic violence.

Other plans included launching a more aggressive awareness campaign and implementing a domestic violence related program in Dallas schools.

These announcements come just days after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings held his own press conference to address the issue. They also come the week after a former school security guard allegedly shot and killed his wife as she left work after years of documented domestic problems.

“We’ve always known that domestic violence is a big problem in our city,” Jasso said. “But within the last few weeks and even the last few days, we’ve seen the number of cases and victims rise at an alarming rate.”

Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott said police have already begun working to serve warrants still outstanding.

Police will use additional manpower, such as a special task force that addresses problem areas, to help address the backlog. Officers will use lethality assessments – 11 yes-or-no questions asked during domestic violence calls to ascertain whether the call is high-risk – to help determine which warrants to prioritize, she said.

“We are going to do everything we can to get those warrants served as quickly as we can,” she said.

In order for this to be effective, Jasso said officials will need to work closely with victims so police can get the information they need to make an arrest and so prosecutors can build an effective case.

Jasso also announced a more aggressive awareness campaign to give victims and families the resources they need to get help. That includes reaching out to places of worship and extending outreach beyond domestic violence awareness month.

Anti-domestic violence billboards will run more often and more consistently. They’ll also offer hotline phone numbers as a resource, Jasso said.
“That seems to be the quickest way to help someone,” she said.

Jasso also announced a Dallas police program called “Blue in School,” which is meant to help children feel more comfortable reporting domestic violence and also end the cycle of violence. That program is in the planning stage, Scott said.

Jasso encouraged victims to seek help.

“We need to know who you are to get you the help you need,” she said. “One time you’re hit is one time too many.”

Read full article in Dallasnews.com.

Watch New Dallas Initiatives To Battle Domestic Violence from CBS-Dallas.