*This article was written by Jill Henderson and edited by Devin Mulvey.
Bloomsburg—Sexual assault continuously proves to be an issue on Bloomsburg University campus. How the Bloomsburg University Police Department handles sexual assault cases is more crucial with every passing year.
According to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, there were fourteen rapes on campus alone in the past three years. In those three years there were six crimes classified as fondling, with twenty-four cases of dating violence and twelve cases of stalking, all on BU campus.
Certain officers within the BU Police Department are specially trained to handle situations of sexual assault. All police officers within University police have some level of training pertaining to sexual assault. Four of the twenty-four members of the BU Police Department have advanced or specialized sexual assault training.
The officer with the highest level specialized training to handle sexual assault is the BU Police Department’s criminal investigator, Corporal Daniel Erdman. According to Corporal Erdman, these officers go through certifications such as specialized classes, webinars, and extra training courses as they become available.
Corporal Erdman said in an interview that the most crucial part of handling sexual assault cases as a police officer is that “[the victim] trusts that we’ll do our part to make things right.”
If there is a sexual assault situation, one of the four specially trained officers will be called to the situation, Corporal Erdman being the first option. If one of those four are not on duty, another officer will respond, and the situation will be referred to one of the specially trained officers. This assures students in the handling of often delicate and emotional crimes such as sexual assault.
Many students believe that it’s not only important that there be officers with special training, but that one of these officers be a part of every sexual assault case.
“Yeah, I think there absolutely should be an officer present with that kind of training at every case like that. It’s important for there to be someone there for the victim that really understands the situation they’re in, I don’t think it is fair to the victim if there isn’t.” said Rose Makalsky, a sophomore student studying psychology at BU.
When a sexual assault case arises, the Victim/ Witness office will be contacted right away, and they will assist victims throughout the entire legal process, according to Corporal Erdman.
Within the BU Police Departments web site are related links, one of which is to a sexual assault page where students may look to find resources in the situation of a sexual assault. Resource centers, important telephone numbers, and other pertinent information can be found linked on this page, as well as links to more specific pages on sexual assault topics.