Crystal Chief Proposes Changes to Sexual Assault Investigations
Crystal police Chief Stephanie Revering is heading up a group that wants to change the way law enforcement agencies handle sexual assault cases. Revering is among the members with the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) board who have been working on a plan to better handle sexual assault investigations.
Revering worked with victims’ advocates and members of the public to review old rape cases to see if they can improve investigation techniques. They produced a 10-page report on recommendations.
“This isn’t to say that law enforcement hasn’t been doing that, however, we can do a better job,” said Revering.
Revering Hopes to Make Process Easier On Victims
While police want to go after the person responsible for sexual assault, talking with police is understandably tough on the victim, says Revering. The report calls for officers to recognize that the victim has experienced a traumatic incident.
The proposal suggests that, whenever possible, to conduct victim interviews in person. That isn’t often the case now. The report also recommends a victim’s advocate get involved from the very beginning.
“It can be a really traumatic experience,” said Jena J, who’s with Cornerstone, a victim’s advocacy group. Her last name is not provided for her protection.
Crystal is one of three agencies in the state that has a victim’s advocate embedded within the department.
“A lot of victims will blame themselves for what happened and looking at their own behavior at how they can change that,” explained the advocate.
Jena says every victim reacts differently and that can be confusing for people interacting with victims. Some laugh, while others are in shock.
Chief Revering says the plan will help streamline the investigative process and ensure everything is being done to protect victims, while going after their assailants.
“I hope that the Post board decides to adopt it,” said Revering.
The proposed policy will go before the POST board Jan. 24. The state legislature could also vote to mandate the plan.