Verona uses grant to hire domestic violence officer

VERONA – Thanks to a $41,000 grant, domestic violence victims in Verona will get extra attention.
Police Chief Leo Mask said he is using a Violence Against Women grant to hire Verona’s first full-time domestic violence investigator.
Mask said the money will be used to train the officer, Cathy Young, and to educate the community on the dangers of domestic violence.
Since becoming Verona’s chief in September, Mask said he has noticed that a large number of the calls his officers handle deal with domestic violence.
“I was tired of seeing women get beat up on, so I decided to look for some ways to help them,” said Mask. “I think this is going to be a great tool for the community to use to offset domestic violence. It’s going to assure no one slips through the cracks and these women get the help they need.”
In addition to the domestic violence grant, the department was awarded a nearly $15,000 grant to help pay for overtime for the officers.
With a departmental budget of about $190,000 and shrinking by the month, Mask said grants are essential to his department’s success.
“There is just no way we could do all the things we need to do for the citizens of Verona without the help of grant money,” said Mask. “We wanted to help women who are victims of domestic violence. Our budget didn’t allow for it, but the grant did. We are a small department, so overtime is necessary, but we just don’t have the money to spare out of our budget. So every extra dime we get helps Verona.”
Mayor Bobby Williams said Mask has done a good job securing grants for the department.
“Leo came from a bigger department as sheriff of Pontotoc and that experience has really benefited Verona,” said Williams. “He has been very active in applying for and securing grants for the police department and our citizens are the beneficiaries of his hard work.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal