The Casper Police Department unveiled a new interview room Tuesday aimed at providing a safe interview space for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Police used a ribbon-cutting ceremony at headquarters to introduce the room to the public. Interim Chief Steve Schulz, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey and City Council member Amanda Huckabay all spoke to a crowd of about 50 people.
October is domestic violence awareness month, and Schulz said he was “proud to participate” by opening the room.
The room dedication is part of an effort to make the police department more accommodating to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, said police victims services coordinator Leslie Fritzler.
Previously, sexual assault survivors were interviewed in the same space used for suspected criminals.
The police department hopes that the room will make sexual assault survivors more comfortable when they report crimes, Detective Mike Ogden said.
“This is a big issue in our community,” Huckabay said. She called for the city to “move forward with a single goal in mind.”
After the statements, the mayor led a group of collaborators in cutting the purple ribbon symbolizing the opening of the room.
The new room features a loveseat with throw pillows, a wooden table with corresponding chairs and wall art, including a painting of flowers.
The room decoration is aimed at creating a safe place for victims to report crimes perpetrated against them, Fritzler said.
The room, which replaces part of an old records storage area, was built and equipped with private donations and a project grant from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The grant, part of a project called Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims, was made in 2015.
The department is increasing in-service training regarding violence against women, investigating strangulation cases and victim-centered responses, Fritzler said.