ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's police department is dedicating one officer exclusively to investigating animal cruelty crimes after a dog killed one child and injured another earlier this year.

The goal, the department said Monday, is shrinking the number of officer-involved shootings of dogs and dog attacks on people.

Creation of the new position comes after a January dog attack in which a 6-year-old boy was killed and a 5-year-old girl was seriously injured while walking to school. The dog's owner is facing criminal charges.

Police Chief Erika Shields says the "horrific attack" highlighted the need to target irresponsible dog ownership and to combat cruelty toward any animals.

The officer will work with the community, law enforcement and other government agencies to investigate animal cruelty claims and will do outreach about the issue.