Sonoma County law enforcement officials are planning to ramp up their efforts to combat elder abuse after receiving a $400,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced Friday that the county had received the grant, which will be used for training law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and others about the proper investigation and prosecution of elder abuse.

"My office will work closely with our local partners to protect our elder population from financial scams, neglect, and abuse," Ravitch said in a statement. "I look forward to using these funds to enhance the ongoing efforts of local law enforcement, county agencies and local non-profit groups to provide support to our elders, and to aggressively investigate and prosecute those responsible for abusing them."

The grant was sought by the Sonoma County Family Justice Center, under the direction of Ravitch's office. It was awarded by the DOJ's Office on Violence Against Women and Abuse in Later Life. The elder abuse training funded by the grant will be given to law enforcement officers over a 3-year period.

Abuse advocate and former Santa Rosa Police Officer Lucia Wade will function as the training coordinator, even as she continues her work as an elder advocate for Ravitch.

— Martin Espinoza