Tricounty News

Forensic Interview Training

During the week of May 19-23, 2008 the Stearns County Attorney's office hosted CornerHouse Forensic Interview training at the College of Saint Benedict for 30 human service employees, police officers and prosecutors. Individuals from the following agencies were trained together: Stearns and Benton County Human Services; Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Melrose, Paynesville, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, and Waite Park Police Departments; Stearns County Sheriff's Office and the Stearns County Attorney's Office. The training taught a forensically credible, reliable and non-traumatic interview process for children and vulnerable adults who are victims of sexual or physical abuse. Training methods consisted of lecture and discussion, review of CornerHouse videotaped interviews, skill-building exercises and an interview practicum. The course was designed for investigating teams of law enforcement, child protection investigators, prosecutors and child interview specialists. The cost of the training was paid for entirely by the Stearns County Attorney's Office, through an arrangement with CornerHouse, and was the first of its kind to train this many professionals outside the CornerHouse site in Minneapolis. "I require all my attorneys and trial staff working with children to become CornerHouse trained," states Janelle Kendall, Stearns County Attorney. "This is one of the most valuable trainings our employees can acquire." By training as a multi disciplinary team, the participants will be able to work together on child abuse investigations. "Knowing I can call one of my colleagues at Human Services or the County Attorney's Office to help with an interview is immensely important," affirmed one of the participating law enforcement officers.