The Reno Police Department is changing the way it is responding to victims. Our reporter Stephanie Serrano got a firsthand look at some of the differences.
Within the last year, the city invested close to $100,000 to remodel the front desk of the Reno Police Department. This may sound like a cosmetic adjustment, but historically, people would make their reports through a plexiglass window in front of whoever was in the lobby, no matter the case.
“The room you are sitting in right now, we designed them to be victim report taking rooms so they don’t feel like they are in this intimidating authoritative environment,” Lori Fralick, manager of the victims' service unit at the Reno Police Department said. “They are very private, so they have confidence and they are not out there telling their story in front of a bunch of witnesses in the lobby. We created these report writing rooms so that when somebody comes in fearful or feeling scared we bring them back here.”
When you walk into the rooms they are decorated with home decor and filled with warm colors. Aside from the rooms, the department has also installed Voiance, a translation system with more than 100 languages run by certified interpreters.
“In fact, all of our sergeants all have it downloaded in their department iPhone. They can use it out in the field so if at any time an officer is struggling with an individual, they can right then and there access it from the sergeant's phone, day or night, 24/7.”
Moving forward into the new year, the department is now, for the first time, hosting non-English speaking victim focus groups, where they can ask the victims how they felt they were treated throughout the reporting process to find out what worked and what did not.
Marisol Perez is a bilingual victim’s advocate for the department.
“We just want people to know that we are here to provide a service to our community and we want to be transparent in the services we are making," said Perez. "We want people to know that whatever the doubt is or the concern, that we want to bring clarification to them in that moment of need.”
Perez and Fralick both say the goal of these changes is to help more victims feel comfortable to come forward.