Police Make Facility Upgrades to Support Victims of Violent Crim - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Police Make Facility Upgrades to Support Victims of Violent Crime

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MISSOULA - Missoula Police make some big upgrades within their facility to help improve their response to victims of violent crimes.

Construction on new interview rooms and office spaces took a few months to complete, and this morning police revealed the finished project.

Last year, the Missoula Police Department entered an agreement with the Department of Justice to improve its response to sexual assault.

Police said while these facility upgrades do help them meet those requirements, they've been working diligently for years to better serve victims of violent crimes.

Five investigators and a supervisor make up a new elite Missoula Police unit located across the street from the station at City Hall.

"It's a separate workspace, it's quiet, you don't have people coming in and out," said Detective Sergeant Travis Welsh.

Welsh said these detectives dedicate their time to child abuse, sexual assault and other violent crimes.

"It's all to create that team atmosphere, working together on some very important cases, dealing with some very important victims who have suffered tremendous trauma, both physically and mentally at times," he explained.

Welsh said combined, the detectives have years of experience working in violent crimes.

"They can now come together in that conference area and collaborate and compare cases and compare suspects."

Back in City Hall, police also have two additional interview rooms with upgraded technology. One space is designated as a "soft" interview room.

Welsh said the plush chairs, soft lighting and wall colors are meant to help make victims feel more at ease while sharing traumatic experiences with investigators.

"And I think we're learning more and more everyday about the effects of that on a human being," Welsh said.

He said they hope the facility upgrades will help victims of violent crimes move through the law and justice system more comfortably.

Missoula Police are assessing the local criminal justice system for gaps in responding to victims of sexual violence. They're hosting a community forum to gather input on the audit next Tuesday at 11 a.m. in City Council chambers.
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