CHARLOTTE, NC — On the surface, it doesn't look like Isaiah Miller, Iliyah Miller, James Hawkins, and Brittany White have anything in common.
The link the mother, a law enforcement officer, and two young children share is that their lives were taken as a result of domestic violence.
The four lives lost already in 2018 have the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department focused more than ever on domestic violence prevention.
"So, to the victims, please give us the opportunity to save your life," said Chief Kerr Putney at a news conference Thursday.
Chief Putney talked about the deadly toll domestic violence has taken and what can be done about it.
Last year, there were 85 murders in Charlotte. Of those, 21 were domestic related, which is about 25 percent of the total.
Chief Putney hopes we can do better this year, but we have gotten off to a terrible start.
"We continue to talk about this cycle of violence, and there are signs and symptoms," said Putney.
The police want to get the community more involved in preventing and stopping domestic violence.
Police have launched an initiative to deal with strangulation. The crime is a strong indicator that serious domestic violence escalation, or murder, is possible.
"The resources are there. It's getting people to use those resources, and that's what we are working on, and that's part of the family justice movement," explained Sgt. Craig Varnum with CMPD Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence has touched the area law enforcement community in a very personal way in the past week. Jonathan Bennett, who was wanted for killing his partner Brittany White, ambushed officers at CMPD headquarters. And, a York County deputy died after four officers were shot responding to a domestic situation.
One of the cases Charlotte police are investigating is the alleged shooting of James Hawkins by his wife Rataba. Both were Mecklenburg County deputies. Even in that case, Chief Putney says the public should come forward.
"What I'll say to that is someone knew something, because we all have friends and associates, and we have to look for patterns of escalation," said the chief.
Friday, professionals in Mecklenburg County will hold a special closed conference to discuss efforts to fight the rise in domestic violence.
If you're in an abusive relationship, or knows someone who is, you can get help at THIS LINK.
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