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'I just hope it's a safe and secure space': Boulder PD unveils new soft interview room for victims, witnesses


BPD Soft Interview Room
Posted at 9:15 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-17 00:30:32-04

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder Police Department unveiled a new tool it hopes will be instrumental in aiding the healing process for violent crime witnesses and survivors.

In late August, Boulder PD renovated its new soft interview room. The room will be used for anyone who's become a victim of or witnessed violent crime.

Susan Townley, senior program manager for BPD's Victims Services, said the upgraded space is imperative to law enforcement investigations and the healing process.

"We've met with victims of domestic violence, sex assault, assault, robberies," she said. "We also work with witnesses. We bring them into a space like this, and this is like sitting in somebody's living room. We wanted to make sure that we could separate a place where victims are interviewed and a place where suspects were interviewed."

Boulder PD's soft interview room before its renovation.
Boulder PD's soft interview room before its renovation.

The renovation process was completed by Project Beloved. The nonprofit partners with law enforcement agencies across the country to create comforting spaces with "trauma informed care" practices — making it easer for victims and witnesses to share their lived experiences with officers and detectives.

"We were working a case this [Thursday] morning, and we were able to get an involved person in that room," said Deputy Chief Stephen Redfern. "It's a fully working interview room, so it's audio and visually video recorded.

"To me it looks like it's already paying off dividends."

Boulder PD's soft interview room after renovation by Project Beloved.  (3).png
Boulder PD's soft interview room after renovation by Project Beloved.

For Redfern, the new space is personal. Project Beloved was founded by his cousin, Tracy Matheson, whose daughter, Molly Jane Matheson, was raped and murdered in 2017.

"Knowing, you know, both sides of the coin, it is really different when it happens to your family," Redfern said. "I'm just very proud of the work that she's done and continues to do."

Matheson told Denver Boulder's new soft interview room marks the the nonprofit's 51st room completion.

"I walk away feeling good that we were invited to come. That fills me with hope that that particular agency is willing to imagine that they can do better. That's what it's all about, everyone in the system understanding and recognizing that we must do better in the way that we respond and investigate cases involving sexual assault," Matheson said. "These rooms are one step in the direction of doing better. I walk away feeling hopeful and grateful to be able to do one more room."

"I just hope it's a safe and secure space where they can feel like they can trust the process of what's happening in here." Townley said.