MORGANTOWN – April marks the one-year anniversary of the Morgantown Police Department’s Judy King Soft Interview Room, and what an impactful first year it’s been.
The soft interview room is a rarity in the U.S. and the MPD is now trying to motivate other agencies across the state to develop their own soft interview room. Detective Larry Hasley and Officer Troy Ball, the biggest proponents behind the project, recently spoke at the 18th Annual Statewide Sexual Assault and Stalking Symposium at the Stonewall Jackson Resort on April 11.
“These rooms are not common, which is why we are here,” said Detective Larry Hasley with the Morgantown Police Department. “We hope agencies represented here will see what we’re doing, and it will spark an idea in them to do the same thing in their jurisdictions.”
Named after Judy King, a retired executive director of the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center, this room is meant to provide a safe space to sexual assault victims to interview with police officers in a room less harsh than a typical interrogation room. Since the room was unveiled on April 5, 2017, it has been used by 37 survivors, witnesses and family members to report sex crimes, domestic and intimate partner violence, and various other trauma-inducing crimes. The room was made possible through donations from local businesses and community members. In the end, it cost the MPD very little to construct the room.
“There are any number of ways you can do this,” said Brian McAllister, a defense attorney for Bailey Glasser, LLP. “Ultimately, the folks at the Morgantown Police Department were incredibly willing to craft what is the finest example of the soft interview room in the country.”
The Judy King Soft Interview Room hasn’t only benefited the MPD, it has also been used in investigations by other law enforcement agencies, including two federal agencies, an Ohio law enforcement department and the United States Naval Crime Investigation Service.
For more information on the Judy King Soft Interview Room, contact the Morgantown Police Department at 304-284-2459.
April marks the one-year anniversary of the Judy King Soft Interview Room at the Morgantown Police Department. The room is meant to provide a safe and comforting space for violent crime victims to be interviewed.