INDIANAPOLIS — A new initiative to stop domestic violence will honor fallen Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Breann Leath.
The "Law Enforcement Action to Halt Domestic Violence Against Men, Women, and Children" or "LEATH" program is named after officer Leath.
Leath was shot and killed in April while responding to a domestic violence disturbance call.
The initiative will work to identify domestic violence offenders who commit a crime with an illegal firearm, targeting them for federal prosecution.
“Domestic violence abusers who have access to firearms are five times more likely to kill their partners than those who do not have access to a firearm,” United States Attorney Josh Minkler said. “Federal law makes it unlawful for domestic abusers to buy, possess or use firearms. Vigorously enforcing those laws is a common-sense solution aimed at saving lives.”
LEATH will also support domestic violence survivors by connecting them to services and resources, such as a partnership between the city and the Domestic Violence Network, which provides safe housing for survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Domestic violence dispatches in the first quarter of 2020 in Indianapolis are more than double that of the same time last year, with IMPD reporting 3,130 runs in 2019 and 6,664 radio runs in 2020.
“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,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
“Officer Leath was an exceptional woman and law enforcement professional, who was taken from her family, friends, colleagues, and community far, far too soon,” Roland H. Herndon, Jr., special agent in charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division, said.
“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," Herndon continued. "Keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals with prior domestic violence convictions will make our whole community a safer place.”