DeKalb commissioner allocates $125,000 to combat domestic violence

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson during a DeKalb County commission meeting in 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson during a DeKalb County commission meeting in 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

A DeKalb County commissioner is designating $125,000 in funding to help prosecutors respond to cases of domestic violence, with a focus on investigating strangulations.

The funding is split: $75,000 will go to the district attorney’s office, and $50,000 to the county solicitor-general’s office, District 5 Commissioner Davis Johnson’s office said in a statement. The district attorney’s office is using the money to provide investigators with specialized training on strangulation cases, while the solicitor-general’s office will hire a special investigator to work on domestic violence cases, particularly in south DeKalb.

“It is our collective duty and responsibility to do all we can to combat the challenging epidemic of domestic violence,” Davis Johnson said in a statement. “Years from now, our children will ask what we did to make DeKalb a better place to live, work, worship, and play. It is my hope that we will be able to say that we put a stop to domestic violence in DeKalb County.”

The money from Johnson’s office is part of a reserve fund each DeKalb commissioner’s office has that they can allocate to county services as they see fit.

The funds will allow District Attorney Sherry Boston’s office to host a four-day intensive training from the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. It will be for all employees who are involved in the investigation, prosecution, intervention or advocacy of domestic violence cases.

“Strangulation is a subset of domestic violence cases that presents unique challenges to both the investigation and prosecution,” Davis Johnson’s office said.

Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling’s office prosecutes criminal misdemeanor offenses in DeKalb, where officials say domestic violence cases account for nearly a third of all misdemeanor cases.

Coleman-Stribling’s office previously announced it was assigning a domestic violence victims’ advocate to the police department’s south precinct. The new investigator will be a temporary position and will act as a “second response” to misdemeanor cases, working with the victim advocate.