Verona places domestic abuse in its crosshairs

VERONA – The city of Verona will crack down on domestic violence as part of a new program involving several community partners.
Thanks to a $41,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the city hired a domestic-violence police officer and formed a five-member committee to assist her.
Stephanie Goree, an Army veteran and former Cooper Tire employee, joined the Verona Police Department a week ago to fill the post. Goree will respond to all domestic violence calls and keep tabs on the families through follow-up visits and referrals to other agencies.
“I love helping people and working closely with them,” Goree said.
Previously, the department responded to calls but didn’t perform follow-up visits.
Goree also will collaborate with the newly formed committee, some of whose members have seen the effects of domestic violence in their careers. They include Lee County Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson, pastor and city Alderwoman Jesse Gilmore, and S.A.F.E. case worker and social worker Sonja Hamilton.
“We’ll be the bridge between the officer and the public,” Thompson said, explaining the group’s role.
The committee joined Goree and other municipal and elected officials at Verona City Hall on Monday for a kick-off luncheon.
“This is going to be an asset to the community and the police department,” said Verona Mayor Bobby Williams. “It will lighten the load for the other officers.”
Verona Police Chief Leo Mask noted a large number of incidents in the community. He said having a dedicated officer for those families hopefully will help curb repeat offenses.
“If we don’t address it, the kids in these families will grow up thinking it’s OK,” Mask said. “That’s why we need to have someone focused on that.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz / Daily Journal