FRESNO – The Fresno Police Department announced Wednesday that it will take a more aggressive stance when it comes to the worst domestic violence offenders.
The police department began its new operation with the arrest of 14 people – 13 men and one woman – during a sweep on Wednesday. Police have teamed with the county district attorney’s office and the Marjaree Mason Center to create a tracking system targeting the top 10 percent of offenders who cause serious injuries to their victims.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said that while the number of domestic assault cases has remained steady at an average of 7,000 per year in Fresno, there has been a 16 percent increase in aggravated assaults on victims in 2011, including two homicides.
“When people are involved in a domestic violence relationship, it does not get better. It gets worse. And the severity of those injuries to the victims becomes greater and greater, sometimes to the point of death,” Dyer said.
Police launched the operation right before summer, when domestic violence increases. Police will conduct domestic violence operations twice a month.
“We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening in these homes because if there is not peace in the homes, it is going to spill out into violence in our streets, and in our schools, and everywhere we turn,” said Pam Kallsen with the Marjaree Mason Center.
Dyer said that 70 percent of domestic violence cases happen in the presence of children. Witnessing that behavior can often lead the child to mimic that behavior later in life, he said.
“The goal is to break the cycle of violence,” Dyer said.
District Attorney Elizabeth Egan called domestic violence a “heartbreaking part of law enforcement,” but thinks that this operation can do some good.
“With everything we’ve got, between the community resource of Marjaree Mason, the Fresno Police Department and the DA’s office, we will have an effect on these people’s lives, a positive effect on these children’s lives,” Egan said.