RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Tech University has received a several thousand dollar grant to help the public safety office better investigate crimes of sexual assault.
Comfortable chairs and a couch is not what you would imagine finding in a police department investigation room.
“We wanted to establish what is called a soft interview room,” Arkansas Tech University chief of public safety Joshua McMillian said.
The public safety department’s headquarters is brand new and they are creating new ideas on the inside too. They are focusing on becoming a safe place for victims of sexual assault.
“It’s reported by the FBI as one of the most under-reported crimes, of anything, that occurs,” said McMillian.
Chief McMillian says his office doesn’t typically investigate these types of crimes, but a new $20,000 grant will help them do a better job.
“All of our studies show that with this more comfortable setting, they are more likely to be at ease when we are interviewing them about this trauma or this past experience,” McMillian explains.
The grant money is being spent on creating a room with a state-of-the-art video system to record interviews. That way victims only have to tell their story once.
“We are able to do the investigation correctly. Make sure we cover all of our bases on that so there is never any problem on the investigation side,” he said.
As the new school year quickly approaches, they don’t want to have to use the system to investigate a sex crime, but in case they do it’s here.
“We are hoping that people will be more conformable coming forward.”
The grant is from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.