DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - More than 160 men and women were killed in 2019 at the hands of either a domestic partner or a family member, according to DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox. She said that number is too high and that's why she's dedicating a team of deputies responsible for those types of violent acts.
From house-to-house and from one apartment door to another, deputies covered with masks for their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic criss-crossed counties in search of men and women with outstanding warrants for domestic violence.
"Since COVID-19 has taken over, we had to kind of scaled back just a little bit but we still never stopped executing those warrants," Sheriff Maddox said.
She said as of Thursday morning, there were 151 outstanding warrants for misdemeanor and felony acts of domestic violence--all issued since mid-March. Several deputies are now focused solely on executing these warrants at least once a week.
The sheriff told FOX 5 all of the men and women have had ample time to surrender for their alleged crimes--crimes she said the county has recently seen more of in the last few weeks.
"I wouldn't say it was a dramatic increase, but did we see a little spike? Yes we can say we saw a little spike in the COVID-19," said Sheriff Maddox. "That's why we want to stop it off because if we don't stop it now, then it can become a little more aggressive."
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FOX 5 chose to blur the face of one of the 20 people deputies located and arrested Thursday. The sheriff said she's not at liberty to discuss any of the cases, but hopes the message is clear to every man and women who are avoiding arrest on an outstanding domestic violence charge.
"We never stop...we never stop endeavoring on these warrants and we want the victims to know they are safe," said Maddox, who took office in December 2019 to fill the seat vacated by Jeffrey Mann.