New police unit tackling domestic violence in Savannah

Crime & Safety

The Savannah Police Department is applying a new tactic to stop the rising tide of domestic violence cases, unveiling a new unit dedicated to the problem. 

Chief Roy Minter on Tuesday officially announced the Family Violence Unit’s creation. The six-member team will work out of police headquarters, using a more proven approach than what officers in the Hostess City were utilizing.

“Over the past several years the Savanna Police Department has had a de-centralized approach to investigating these types of incidents,” Minter said. “While this approach has been effective, we believe a more centralized investigative process is a better way to investigate these types of incidents.”

Detectives assigned to the unit will be working closely with Safe Shelter and the District Attorney’s Office.

“It’s a one-stop shop where you bring the victim here and law enforcement comes, safe shelter comes, the DAs office, and we assess their investigating their case,” said District Attorney Meg Heap. “We are looking for stronger evidence, and the safe shelter, other resources are available for the family.”

Cheryl Branch, Executive Director of SAFE Shelter, Inc., a haven for victim’s of domestic violence, says work to add this unit to SPD started in 1996 and it ushers in a new era in the fight against this crime.

“This is going to be one of the best things for the victims in Savannah in a long time,” Branch said. 

“This is a partnership,” Capt. David Gay said. “Each of us brings a unique perspective and a different skill set to this problem of family violence. As we move forward, we are all going to be working together.”

The new unit consists of one supervisor and five detectives. 

Over the next several months, detectives will also be visiting agencies in the state that have similar units to formulate best practices to apply to SPD’s Family Violence Unit.

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