Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence in Sweetwater will now have a dedicated resource offering help.
The city commission during Monday's meeting gave the thumbs-up to interim Police Chief Jesus "Jessie" Menocal to hire Ana Martinez as an officer in charge of assisting victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a big case,” Menocal said in a phone interview. “We have no one to provide that type of service.”
Martinez, who speaks both Spanish and English, will work as a part-time officer working only 29 hours per week. The plans are for her to have an office at Sweetwater Elementary.
Martinez, who is a veteran, will be paid by forfeiture funds, but Menocal plans to apply for grant money to support fund two full-time officers in the near future. She will assist victims by providing pamphlets, taking victims to court or assisting them with finding shelter, if needed.
Aside from aiding domestic violence victims, she will also attend to children as a mentor in the school.
Mayor Jose Diaz said the effort is essential.
“It was a great initiative that will improve the quality of life for kids and families,” he said after the meeting. “She will be on the lookout for signs of domestic violence, and at the same time provide good surveillance when parents are dropping kids off at school.”
Menocal had applied for the domestic violence officer when he served as police chief in the 1990s.
“Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence will now be able seek help in Sweetwater,” Menocal said.