Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Sgt. Brenda Gann is moving to Baton Rouge Police Dept's expanded Victims Assistance Program in an attempt to more directly meet the needs of the victims. She will work with the Violence Assistance Coordinator.

A 25-year veteran of law enforcement has stepped into a new role with the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Victim’s Assistance Program, where she will focus on helping victims of domestic violence get any type of assistance they may need.

Sgt. Brenda Gann was named to the newly created position of victim’s assistance advocate for domestic violence by Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. after he recognized the need to help domestic violence victims.

Gann reads incident reports each morning and when she comes across a domestic violence incident, contacts the victim right away to talk to them and offer her services.

“He (Dabadie) feels, and I feel the same way, that if you get to the victim in the early stages, they tend to want to pursue charges more and they would be more apt to following us through the court system,” Gann said.

She joins seven others in the department’s Victim’s Assistance Program and will work in concert with people in similar offices in the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office who help victims seek counseling, medical treatment or any other services they need.

“I didn’t realize the need for this until I got into it,” Gann said, pointing to statistics that show Louisiana has one of the highest mortality rates from domestic violence incidents.

Gann said one of her goals is to create a database of records, drawing from information in the City and District courts, so she can easily determine if suspects have had previous domestic violence arrests and convictions.

Gann said she could better make recommendations to prosecutors on penalties for people suspected of domestic violence with that information in hand.

“Everything that falls through the gaps, I’m hoping to catch,” Gann said.

Gann has been with the department for 22 years after a three-year stint with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. She has worked in several departments, including missing persons, financial crimes, sex crimes and child abuse cases.

“I’ve always worked the detective end, but you never see what the aftermath is with the victims,” Gann said. “It’s a real eye-opening experience.”

Gann is a graduate of Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge and earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from LSU before joining the Sheriff’s Office.