App to help fight domestic violence coming soon to Caddo

Published: Oct. 26, 2016 at 8:54 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2016 at 2:48 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The phrase "There's an app for that" soon will apply to the fight against domestic violence.

And it's part of a much larger effort already underway in Northwest Louisiana.

The Caddo Commission and district attorney's office have received a $450,000 federal grant to fight violence against women for the next three years. Officials say the money will fund a cooperative endeavor between law enforcement and nonprofits.

Part of that effort will include a unique app to track criminal cases.

Penya Moses-Fields heads the special victims unit here at the district attorney's office. It prosecutes stalking, domestic violence and sex crimes.

Moses-Fields came up with the idea of creating an app to allow law enforcement to communicate back and forth with prosecutors.

"Evidence collection is important as well as some of the victims need services, emergency services such as sheltering or protective orders," she said.

The app also will help prevent the loss of critical information in a case, including how to get a hold of the victim and witnesses, Moses-Fields said.

As for creating the app, that's where this story takes another interesting turn.

You see, the district attorney's office decided to turn to LSU-Shreveport to get it done. And it'll actually be the students in a class who do the work.

David Culpepper is the LSUS adjunct professor who will guide his students through this challenging project, when he's not working at a local software company.

Culpepper says he knows from experience, it's critical to get an app right the first time.

"If it's not usable, then they're either not going to use it correctly or they'll just stop using it period."

Culpepper says his students will begin work next week.

The district attorney's office hopes to begin testing the app with local law enforcement in about 60 days.

If all goes according to plan, the district attorney's special victims unit could have it app up and running by the first of the year, or close to it.

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