A look inside MSU DPPS's soft interview room
April 11, 2023
EAST LANSING, Mich. — With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety (MSU DPPS) is raising awareness about its ‘soft interview room.’ The soft interview room, also known as a trauma-informed interview room, is intended to provide a more calming and warmer environment for survivors when meeting with the police. The room is located within the department’s main headquarters.
The soft interview room is an important tool for MSU DPPS to fulfill its mission of being trauma-informed and victim-centered for survivors who wish to report traumatic crimes, including sexual assault.
“We recognize that trauma affects everyone in a different way and understand that speaking about an experience of sexual assault may be difficult,” said Detective Sergeant Aaron Schroeder with MSU DPPS’s Community Support Division. “Having a soft interview room can put survivors more at ease when recounting the details of a sexual assault to an investigator.”
The soft interview room is specifically set up to be more inviting and welcoming than a typical police interview room. It is furnished with soft décor including a couch, comfortable chairs, pillows, wall art, and potted plants. The room is also equipped with special audio and video equipment to make sure information is recorded accurately for use during investigations.
“I think a lot of times, the community may have preconceived ideas of what a police interview looks like based on what is in TV shows and movies, including dirty, dimly lit rooms with bare walls, limited furniture, etc.,” said Schroeder. “My hope is that a survivor is immediately put at ease upon entering the room, that they feel supported, and that they know our team of investigators cares about their comfort and feelings of safety and security.”
The soft interview room was originally created in 2015 and moved to a larger physical location within the department at the beginning of 2022. The MSU Center for Survivors also has its own trauma-informed interview room, so the option can be offered to have follow-up meetings at that location as well.
“MSU DPPS has a strong partnership with the MSU Center for Survivors and our department is grateful for the collaboration across campus,” said Schroeder.
In addition to the soft interview rooms on campus, MSU DPPS is also able to accommodate survivors who prefer to be interviewed at a different comfortable location of their choosing.
The Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety’s Community Support Division works to provide trauma-informed, inclusive, and accessible services to MSU students, faculty, and staff. Community Support Division members also participate in community outreach and training programs to provide awareness and improve overall safety on campus.
You can learn more about the Community Support Division’s operations here.
As always, MSU DPPS can be contacted anytime by calling 517-355-2221 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.
Dana Whyte, Communications Manager and Spokesperson, Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety