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Waukesha Police Department creates safe space for crime victims to talk

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jun 03, 2019

The Waukesha Police Department has a new designated place where crime victims can talk.

"Here you're talking about probably the worst event you've ever gone through in your life," said Detective Shelly Fisher.

The Sensitive Crimes unit tries to talk with victims just once so they don't have to recount the trauma.

"Could have been victim of sexual assault or battery, abuse or victim of human trafficking or even someone that witnesses a violent crime," said Fisher.

Sometimes that first conversation can prevent victims from ever having to testify in court and that's another reason why detectives try and put victims at ease. They hope the calming blue room with plush furniture makes a difference.

"It's going to help them tell the story and it's going to help us with our criminal case," said Fisher.

Not all police departments have soft interview rooms.

"No, this is very unique," said Captain Dan Baumann. "This is becoming more popular in progressive agencies."

Area businesses stepped in to help transform the room including: Kohl's, Steinhafels, Carpet City, Bazaar Home Decor, Hallman, Waukesha Victim/Witness and Meijer.

"They come in and completely gut it out, stripping floors, stripping paint," said Baumann.

Now they're working to re-wire the room so the camera and audio equipment are discreet.

"The likelihood of them seeing it unless they specifically look in the corner, specifically look for that hidden device, they're not going to see it which is really going to decrease that stress level, really decrease that intimidation," said Baumann.

There are also things to help the youngest victims.

"All we want to do truly in the end is seek the truth, bring those that we need to bring to justice and the most important thing is to advocate for our victims," said Baumann.

The room should be ready to go in the next few weeks. They're still looking for artwork to fill the space.