New coordinated offices part of Missoula police effort to better deal with victims of violence
The Missoula police gave local media a tour of new offices and a new interview room they say will add to their improved response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Sergeant Travis Welsh says the improved facilities are part of the department's agreement with the federal Department of Justice to deal more sensitively with victims.
"They're going to help us relate to victims better," said Welsh. "And be able to understand what we're seeing and what we're hearing as we investigate the cases."
Detectives who deal with adult and child abuse cases are now housed in a series of new offices across from city hall that allow them to work more collaboratively. Detective Connie Bruckner works on sexual assault cases, and she says the new offices and additional training also help the police coordinate better with other agencies and community groups.
"Now we're attending trainings together with them; we're meeting with the county attorney's office on a weekly basis - and that's going to be very helpful in looking at problematic cases," said Bruckner.
Missoula police have also remodeled one of their four victim interview rooms, with comfortable chairs and carpeting, to make the space less intimidating to someone who's been traumatized.
The city is also holding a community forum Tuesday, May 27th to gather input on a safety and accountability audit that will assess any gaps in the criminal justice system's response to victims of sexual violence. That forum begin at 11 a.m. in the Missoula city council chambers.