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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

April 2018 | Volume 11 | Issue 4

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) is a unique educational entity that has provided programs and services designed to enhance the proficiency and professionalism within the Arkansas law enforcement community since 1993. As a division of the University of Arkansas System, the institute delivers education and advanced training across Arkansas in progressive areas of criminal justice, including law enforcement leadership and management, forensic sciences, computer technologies, illicit drug investigations, and school, traffic, and officer safety. In 1997, the CJI established the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE) to extend many of its programs and services throughout rural America.

Supported by an award from the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, the CJI ’s NCRLE responded to the needs of rural law enforcement officers, both from a management and investigator perspective, by developing and delivering two courses focusing on sexual assault investigations for rural law enforcement personnel in an online format. The training emphasizes a victim-centered approach when working with sexual assault victims and teaches rural law enforcement officers how to effectively manage and investigate sexual assault incidents. This program ensures sexual assault training is accessible to all rural law enforcement agencies, regardless of manpower or budget limitations. One of the primary obstacles in rural law enforcement is the lack of training programs specific to the needs of the rural officer. This program also addresses the unique position of the rural officer by acknowledging the many roles most rural officers play in their area such as officer, first responder, crime scene technician, and investigator. The two courses, Introduction to Sexual Assault Investigation for the Rural Executive Online and Introduction to Sexual Assault Investigation for the Rural Investigator Online, are offered at no cost and are available to all certified law enforcement officers who are actively employed by a law enforcement agency in a rural state or U.S. territory. Since June of 2015 these courses have been completed by 1,052 law enforcement professionals representing 36 states.

What LEOs are saying about the CJI’s Sexual Assault Investigation Courses:

  • “Very well presented. It changed my thoughts on victim centered response.” – Deputy P. Kuehn, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • “I will approach the victim interview with less assumptions going in. This course helped me with understanding the victim centered aspect of an investigation.” – Sgt. Ryan Deleon, Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, Jamestown, North Dakota
  • “I will definitely make my officers take more time and withhold judgement regarding victims. We have already been considering starting a SART and this will help us move forward with that.” – Captain Eric Dickinson, Vinton Police Department, Vinton, Iowa
  • “I have been refreshed and empowered to conduct a more thorough investigation through the information presented.” – Police Chief D. Chavez, Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico
  • “I was engaged from the first section to the last. I was refreshed in some areas and totally educated in others. I truly enjoyed every minute and recommend that other officers take the course.” – Patrol Officer J. Turner, American Falls, Idaho
  • "The training is clearly put together by professionals, for professionals, and anyone can get better educated using this training." – Deputy D. Griffith, Lake Andes, South Dakota
  • “Best investigative course I’ve taken.” – Chief E. Johansen, Glenwood, Iowa

Introduction to Sexual Assault Investigation for the Rural Executive Online (18 hours)
Rural law enforcement executives have the opportunity to have a significant influence on those they supervise and on their community’s attitude toward sexual assault. They are responsible for creating and maintaining an environment that supports a victim-centered response to sexual assault. This course enhances the capability of rural law enforcement personnel to manage and investigate sexual assault cases in their community. Topics include the dynamics of sexual assault, recognizing victim trauma, the benefits of a team approach to sexual assault investigation, creating a department sexual assault policy and procedure along with self-assessment tools, understanding the medical-forensic examination, alcohol/drug facilitated sexual assault, handling media relations, and developing sexual assault cases from the prosecutor’s perspective. Obstacles, resources and benefits to the department are also explored.

Introduction to Sexual Assault Investigation for the Rural Investigator Online (21 hours)
The response to, and investigation of, sexual assault crimes requires a victim centered approach as part of an effective investigation. This course enables rural officers to better understand the impact of sexual assault upon victims, as well as apprehend the offender. The investigator curriculum provides a road map for investigators to ensure that each step in the investigation process is thoroughly conducted. The course includes recognizing victim trauma, understanding the medical forensic exam process, using effective victim interviewing techniques, and strategies for investigating and preparing sexual assault cases for prosecution.

Each course is offered monthly and is available on demand 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for a specified period of time. The online course can be stopped and resumed without restarting the course if officers need to take care of other duties. Upon completion, officers receive a certificate of completion. The CJI staff also assists law enforcement agencies in obtaining credit from their state POST or law enforcement accrediting agency.

More information and registration for both of these programs is available online:

Dr. Cheryl May, Director
Criminal Justice Institute

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