Baton Rouge police add domestic abuse unit

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge police are expanding the help they give to victims. One month ago, Police Chief Carl Dabadie brought someone in to track domestic abuse. Her job, to track the offenders and hopefully bring down the number of domestic violent acts in the city.

At the start of 2014, several calls about domestic abuse were dialed into Baton Rouge police. In one case, a woman called to say she had stabbed her husband and he needed medical attention. Officers were sent to the scene, where she told them she stabbed him because he hit her.

Cases like that one brought Sgt. Brenda Gann to head up the Domestic Abuse Unit at the police department.

She says everyday when she gets to the office, she checks the reports from the previous day to see if any serious battery has occurred, related to domestic violence. She calls each of the victims immediately to make sure they are in a safe place and offer them help. Serious cases, she says, are anything dealing with strangulation, marks on the neck, and black eyes.

After only a month of the job, Gann says those kinds of calls come in more frequently than she thought.

Gann and several domestic abuse agencies say with Louisiana leading the country in domestic homicides, for nearly three decades, something needs to change.

Due to some recent murders around the metro area, the issue has received a lot of attention. Lawmakers are also taking a look at bills to give victims of domestic violence more rights and toughen punishments for offenders.

Gann says her goal with the department is to create a database to better track abusers, especially repeat offenders.

"Targeting violent offenders that have done this numerous times, that often falls through gaps and we don't realize that. They'll change partners...commit domestic violence on one lady, go to next girlfriend and commit domestic violence. Put that in database, look up the accused and see that he has done this," Gann said.

Doing so, they would be able to establish behavior patterns and identify abusers, which could help police prevent problems before it escalates and ends in death.

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