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APSO: Domestic violence homicides increase

7 years 2 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, May 30 2017 May 30, 2017 May 30, 2017 5:58 PM May 30, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ
GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office says over the past five years it has seen an increase in domestic violence homicides. 

In a parish where homicide levels are typically in the single digits, at least 35 to 40 percent of those can be attributed to domestic violence situations, according to the sheriff's office. 

"It allows us to start new initiatives on how to do assessments in the field and get people help in these domestic violence situations," Colonel Bobby Webre said.

One of those initiatives helps law enforcement assess warning signs. They use questionnaires that give deputies at the scene the knowledge and can refer victims to the appropriate places for help. The IRIS Domestic Violence Center will step in to help victims at the scene if needed. Melanie Fields is the president of the center. 

"Our agency can do a number of things," Fields said. "Obviously we have a residential program, where we can assist them (victims) with relocating."

Over the weekend, a woman was allegedly run over by her husband, Timothy Cockerham, in the driveway of their Prairieville home. Two years ago, the sheriff's office said Monica Johnson was beaten to death with a bat by her estranged husband, David Johnson, in Geismar. Those high-profile cases highlight the action Ascension Parish is already taking. 

Currently, Sheriff Jeff Wiley sits on the IRIS Domestic Violence Center's Board along with representatives from Baton Rouge Police and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

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