A $21,538 grant from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of Intergovernmental Services will allow police officers in the Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety to better serve victims of sexual assault.
As result of the grant, the department will purchase and install an enhanced video system for recording victim testimonial evidence.
"The purpose of this project is for the Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety to acquire the necessary tools to obtain full and detailed witness accounts and therefore access justice for vulnerable victims," wrote Capt. Mark Pyburn, administrative and criminal division commander for the ATU Department of Public Safety, in the grant application. "This will allow investigators to build a better rapport with the victims because the cameras will not be in view of the victim, reminding the victim that he or she is being recorded."
Pyburn went on to explain that the equipment will also be used during interviews with suspects. He wrote that the resulting video evidence may be utilized by prosecution and defense attorneys, university student conduct personnel and other law enforcement agencies.
"The ATU Department of Public Safety collaborates with the River Valley Advocacy Center, the Ozark Rape Crisis Center, the victim-witness coordinator with the prosecuting attorney’s office, the Russellville Police Department and the Pope County Sheriff’s Office to provide victims with the resources needed," wrote Pyburn.
Located at 716 N. El Paso Ave. in Russellville, the ATU Department of Public Safety protects and serves the students, faculty and staff of ATU as well as the alumni and visitors who attend a variety of on-campus events throughout the year.
Services provided by the ATU Department of Public Safety to the university community include basic self-defense classes, women’s self-defense classes, civilian response to active shooter events, dating safety tips and a safety transport program.
Learn more about the ATU Department of Public Safety at www.atu.edu/psafe.