A new Bibb County prosecutor soon will begin prosecuting Macon ordinance violations in hopes of ridding the area of sex trafficking.
Deshala Dixon, currently a Houston County prosecutor, will start work next week as one of Macon Judicial Circuit David Cookes new hires.
Dixon, who will prosecute major felonies and specialize in child abuse and child sex cases, also will be sworn in as an assistant Macon city attorney, Cooke said.
Prosecuting people who perform massages without a license will attack sex trafficking at local massage parlors, he said.
The main problem law enforcement faces with sex trafficking cases is that women who are being trafficked dont identify themselves to police as victims, Cooke said.
This way we can shut down the operation whether or not were able to successfully make a sex trafficking case, he said.
Interim City Attorney Judd Drake said it will be advantageous to have a prosecutor instead of a city attorney handling those types of cases in Macon Municipal Court.
Macon also is in talks with Bibb County State Court to hire an assistant city attorney to prosecute Municipal Court cases, Drake said. The person would go to work in the State Court Solicitors Office after consolidation.
Four of Cookes five new hires have previously worked in Houston County. Cooke was a Houston County prosecutor prior to his election in November.
Cooke described his new employees as hard workers who will add to the talented team already in place.
Prosecutors Shelley Milton and Will Johnson will handle property crimes, an area where theres a backlog of cases, Cooke said. Milton has worked as a law clerk for Houston Countys Superior Court judges. Johnson was a long-term intern in the Houston County District Attorneys Office.
Cooke said victim advocate Meredith Howell has a heart and passion for victims, particularly in crimes against women and children.
Howell has worked as a victim advocate at the Houston County District Attorneys Office and volunteer coordinator at Hodac in Houston County.
Cindy Adams, former chief assistant solicitor for Bibb County State Court, is now prosecuting cases in Peach County.
Adams said she saw Cookes election and Solicitor Otis Scarbarys recent retirement as an opportunity to work closer to her home in Peach County.
Everything just fell into place, she said.
The four new prosecutors and victim advocate are filling vacancies created by a retirement, two resignations, two terminations and an out-of-circuit transfer that took effect after Cookes election.
People from across the Southeast applied for the prosecuting positions, with about 50 applicants for each position, Cooke said.
Cooke said hes still is working to fill another prosecuting vacancy and to obtain a grant for a neighborhood prosecutor.
While its true that four of the five new hires has a history in Houston County, Cooke said he didnt hire them just because theyre familiar to him.
Theyve already been vetted and tested from being previously hired from a wide search, he said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.