LSU Police Department First in the SEC to Implement “Soft Interview Room”
October 25, 2022
The LSU Police Department is the first in the SEC to implement a Project Beloved “soft interview room” for victims of trauma or sexual violence. The new room features comfortable lighting, furniture, weighted blankets and items that are intended to help survivors talk to police about what happened.
LSU installed the “soft interview room” with the help of Project Beloved, a nonprofit charitable organization that partners with law enforcement agencies to implement soft interview rooms across the nation.
Project Beloved was started by Tracy Matheson in 2018, the year anniversary of the day her life changed forever. In 2017 Matheson found out her daughter, Molly Jane, had been killed in Texas. Matheson said she must do something to take an unbearable tragedy and turn it into change.
From there, Project Beloved: Molly Jane’s Mission was born. One of the main initiatives of the project is taking a trauma-informed approach of installing a room in police departments that feels comfortable and emotionally safe instead of stark and cold.
“The ‘soft interview room’ is inviting. When you come to the door, it draws you in, it makes you want to sit down and talk to someone about what happened or what they’ve been through,” LSU PD Officer Kim Bass said. “If it’s a regular interview room, there is a table and chairs, and it’s just not an inviting space.”
The new “soft interview room” helps LSU Police recognize and more effectively respond to the signs and symptoms of traumatized individuals by listening to the details that could change the pace of a case.
“This is a special asset that will help us take an extra step in thinking about victims and survivor’s emotions which goes into being knowledgeable about trauma informed response,” Bass said. “The more we know about that, the more we can help victims and survivors and then we can implement things to help them be able to come forward and talk to us.”
Officer Bass says the “soft interview room" has proven to be effective multiple times since being implemented earlier this spring.
“We hope that the ‘soft interview’ room will give us opportunity to help find justice for more victims because they can come talk to us, develop that relationship, create that bond and then maybe we can even take further steps in making sure they are protected,” Officer Bass said.