Recognizing that last year, domestic violence aggravated assaults increased by 13.6% in Dallas over 2019, Mayor Eric Johnson and Police Chief Eddie Garcia today chose National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to discuss the police department’s new plan to reduce domestic violence.
“At times domestic violence can seem to be too complicated and too intractable of a problem for us to solve,” Mayor Johnson said. “We can’t throw up our hands and say, it’s someone else’s problem. We must do all that we can to reduce domestic violence in this city. And we must take advantage of every opportunity to intervene.”
Mayor Johnson, who was joined by other councilmembers stressed the importance of safety and collaborations.
“We recognize the incredible impact that domestic violence is having in our entire city, and it is clear it will take intentional collaboration and strong efforts to have a positive impact,” said City Council Public Safety Chairman Adam McGough.”I’m thankful for the leadership of Chief Garcia, Mayor Johnson, Jennifer Gates and for all those working to address these issues. We know there is a lot of work to do, but I am encouraged by the focus and attention of so many great people.”
According to a report issued last year by the Domestic Violence Task Force (now called the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory
Council), chaired by former Dallas City Council woman Jennifer Gates, domestic violence is a systemic issue that requires constant advocacy and increased awareness and the Mayor has asked for a 25% decrease in domestic violence aggravated assault over the next three years.
Citizens are concerned about whether or not benchmarks are achievable.
“The Advisory Council will continue to advise and work with DPD, the DA’s office, Judges and the officials that are addressing this on a daily basis,” Gates said. “But we realize that it takes a community effort, so we are comprised of a large group of any organizations and any one that touches Domestic Violence.”
Chief Garcia introduced the upper level parts of the Domestic Violence (IPDV) plan citing as goals, lowering IPDV recidivism and overall reported IPDV in Dallas; reducing IPDV-related calls for service; and, reducing IPDV-related homicides and victim injuries.
To achieve those goals, the Chief said the plan includes: tracking and evaluating implementation of Task Force Recommendations; and developing tailored police responses to IPDV based on offender and victim risk. Key components call to:
- Increase the number of domestic violence detectives.
- Reorganize the domestic violence unit to allow detectives to specialize in intimate partner violence.
- Resume home visits — a previous policing strategy that had been discontinued — to check in on victims and alleged abusers.
- Immediately pair an intimate-partner family violence detective with a homicide detective on murder cases with family violence ties.
- Work with the U.S. Attorney’s office to prosecute offenders on firearms charges, if warranted.
Regarding IPDV, the Chief said, “There are no easy solutions because it’s rooted in social economics and structural conditions that are long standing in many American cities including Dallas. It’s a multi-faceted problem that calls for multi-disciplined approach to reducing its prevalence and harmful effects.”