Reporting Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Dallas City Hall is upping the fight against domestic abuse. On Thursday, the domestic violence task force unveiled new proposals involving Dallas Police.
“One time you’re hit is one time too many,” said chair Delia Jasso, a member of the Dallas City Council.
It’s the second time this week city officials have railed against domestic abuse.
On Monday, the mayor announced formation of a men’s group to lobby other men to stop the practice.
Today, Jasso revealed new initiatives with the Dallas Police Department, including more officers to prioritize arrests on family violence warrants. With her, was deputy chief Cheryl Scott of the police department’s Crimes Against Persons division.
“All warrants are a priority and that’s a problem. They all are,” said the chief.
But police say they’ll look harder at ones that seem to carry more danger.
One tragic example is just a little more than a week old. Police say a Dallas woman was killed by her estranged husband as she left work on January 8. Karen Smith had gotten a protective order against Ferdinand Smith, but before he could be arrested, he fatally shot her, according to police.
The head of a local women’s shelter, Paige Flink of The Family Place, believes prioritizing warrants is a must.
“When you have lethal situations where you have someone who’s committed a crime against another person and they are still out there, I think those are things that should be a priority.”
Police also plan to expand their “Blue in the School” program to encourage children who witness violence at home to tell teachers or counselors, according to Jasso.
“Too many times children of the family are the only witnesses to domestic abuse,” she said. “If we could reach out to them and let them know that it’s okay to talk and tell someone about the abuse they see. Talking to a teacher or principal or police officer should be able to help in some way to mitigate further abuse.”
Flink cautions such programs need appropriate funding.
“I think whatever we do for those children we need the services to back it up when they do make an outcry.”
Finally, the group wants to raise general awareness with a recently created logo and marketing phrase. Councilwoman Jasso also urged religously-based counselors to rethink the idea of keeping families together at all costs.
“There is no one out there who should be counseling victims to stay in a situation that’s abusive,” she told reporters.
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