COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Columbia Police Department Chief Michael Kelly says they’ve seen an uptick in domestic disturbance calls during this coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a concern before COVID and it’s certainly still a concern now,” Kelly said. “We saw a sharp increase during the quarantine and now that the quarantine has been lifted and life is somewhat getting back to normal, we’ve seen those numbers taper off.”
According to Kelly, the department received 25 domestic violence calls in January. In April, that number jumped to 57. That’s when the chief says he decided to make some adjustments.
“One of the things that we did is that we sent some of our staff to be trained on how to be domestic violence advocates and what we want to be able to do is provide the victims of domestic violence the tools that they need to get out of those toxic relationships,” Kelly said.
He says it’s important to bring awareness to domestic violence, especially during October, which is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“So many times, that victim is going to go right back to the perpetrator of violence and we’ve just got to break that cycle,” Kelly.
Columbia police are no stranger to helping residents in tough situations. The Mercy Project, an in-house initiative to help those with an addiction, is now helping victims of domestic violence as well.
“We hope to interdict the cycle early and hopefully make a difference in the life of a victim,” Kelly said.
Kelly encourages anyone who is a victim of domestic violence to call the police department or stop by the station.