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Minneapolis sexual assault investigations to focus on victims

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New victim-centered policies for police investigations of sexual assault
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, joined by Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo (right), announced new victim-centered policies for police investigations of sexual assault on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

The city of Minneapolis on Wednesday announced new victim-centered policies for police investigations of sexual assault. 

Minneapolis officials say the new approach puts the safety, privacy and well-being of victims at the forefront in sexual assault investigations.

"Our new policy is built on compassion, responsiveness and accountability," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. "Local governments can't address every barrier that discourages survivors from reporting. But we do have the ability and the obligation to do a better job when survivors do come forward."

The new policy also seeks to protect sexual assault victims from some charges such as underage drinking and prostitution.

The mayor and chief of police announced the new policy at the Minneapolis Sexual Violence Center, where Executive Director Kenosha Davenport welcomed the changes.

"This policy is definitely a move in the right direction and I'm really looking forward to being a part of the process of ensuring that the officers are receiving the training and the update on the policy and continue to look at ways in which we can make it easier for victims to come forward," said Davenport.

Every officer will get a half day training on new procedures designed to improve interviewing techniques and evidence collection.

Frey said there are about 700 reports of rape in Minneapolis every year and only eight investigators to process them. He proposed adding four more investigators, but he failed to get that proposal passed in his most recent budget.

Correction (April 3, 2019): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of investigators and the number of proposed investigators.