INDIANAPOLIS — Local, state and federal departments are coming together in an attempt to halt domestic violence in Indianapolis.
On April 9, Officer Breann Leath was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call on Indy’s east side. Now, the ATF, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana are memorializing her with a new domestic violence initiative.
The Law Enforcement Action to Halt Domestic Violence Against Men, Women and Children (LEATH) initiative will identify domestic violence offenders who are found to commit a crime with an illegally possessed firearm. They will be targeted for federal prosecution.
“Officer Leath was an exceptional woman and law enforcement professional, who was taken from her family, friends, colleagues, and community far, far too soon,” said Roland H. Herndon, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “The LEATH Initiative is our attempt to memorialize her, continue her work to aid victims of domestic violence, and to protect the law enforcement officers who are put in harm’s way responding to domestic disturbance calls. Keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals with prior domestic violence convictions will make our whole community a safer place.”
The LEATH initiative also looks to support survivors of domestic violence, coordinating them with witness services. It also includes a partnership between the city and the Domestic Violence Network to provide safe housing.
“While the level of domestic violence in our neighborhoods this year is not unique to Indianapolis, it is nonetheless unacceptable, and our officers remain committed to addressing it,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “Officer Breann Leath always went above and beyond in her service to others. It is only fitting that an initiative named in her honor will provide our officers with the tools to better serve survivors of domestic violence and ensure those who sought to victimize them are held accountable.”
The department said domestic violence numbers have climbed in Indianapolis during the COVID-19 pandemic: 6,664 domestic violence radio runs occurred in the first quarter of 2020, more than double the 3,130 runs that occurred during the same period in 2019.