Missoula Police – DOJ Sexual Assault Response Compliance Update Reports Positive Progress [YouTube]
The first year of a compliance agreement between the City of Missoula and the Department of Justice has brought positive changes in the way sexual assault reports are being handled by the police department.
The report, compiled by independent reviewer Tom Tremblay, is the third so far, and covers compliance efforts dating from April 1 to August 8, 2014.
Captain Mike Colyer with the Missoula Police Department said on Friday, that there have been remarkable improvements in several areas.
"There has been an increase in the reports of sexual assault," Coyler said. "However, an increase in reporting does not necessarily mean an increase in sexual assaults. Sexual violence is clearly one of the most under reported crimes and we know there have been a lot of crimes in the past that had gone unreported. We feel good that we're getting victims to come in the door and talk to us about it."
Colyer said his data analysis also showed greater engagement throughout the reporting process.
"It's not uncommon for victims to report, and then feel overwhelmed by the process going forward," he said. "The criminal justice system can be hard to navigate through, so keeping the victims engaged in the process as their case is investigated is something we've been working to do, and we're doing a better job at that, as well."
Colyer said there are 24 categories the department is working on within the draft compliance report, and 19 of those categories have met full compliance.
" Of the remaining five categories, they can be summed up into three areas," Colyer said. "They are collection of data analysis, the victim and advocate surveys, and the safety and accountability audit. We plan to complete the compliance in these areas within the next few months."
Colyer said the Department of Justice will not continue it's oversight into the way Missoula police handle reports of sexual assault.
"We're not just going to undo everything we've done in the past two years, just because we're out of oversight," he said. "I expect we'll keep all the things we're doing right now in place, because it doesn't make sense to go through all of this and then go out a scrap it just because we're out of compliance."
The two year agreement was initially signed on May 15, 2013 and it will be completed on May 15, 2015.