AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Five domestic violence homicides last year in Potter and Randall counties are the reasons behind a new initiative.
The state of Texas has seen a 20 percent increase in these homicides over the past year and though just five of the 158 were in our area, officials say just one is too many.
Monica Barrientos, Kendal Gisch, Joanna Salinas Olivas, Tammy Strout and Joyce Taylor are all women who lost their lives to domestic violence in Potter and Randall Counties in 2015.
Now, the APD has created a special unit to combat and prevent domestic violence in our area.
"We have been meeting over the last few months, coming up with some ways to make our cases that we put forward more powerful so that if the victim is not as cooperative as we would hope, that we could still move forward with that," says APD Chief Ed Drain.
And just today, Randall County Criminal District Attorney James Farren announced the approval of a domestic violence prosecutor, who will solely deal with these cases.
"This prosecutor will be dedicated to domestic violence and domestic violence issues," says Farren. "We are excited about working in conjunction with Chief Drain's department and his domestic violence unit."
Though the agencies say this will not happen overnight, they are hopeful victims will begin coming forward and getting help, once they see there are enough reliable resources.
"We've got specific detectives that those are going to be the only cases that they work on and when you do that, people develop a deeper understanding of how those cases work," says Drain.
"We'll let the perpetrator know early, our eyes are on you, we're watching you, and we're going to file charges against you every time we can and bring you to justice every time there's sufficient evidence," says Farren.
For more information and resources, visit http://tcfv.org/