UKPD officer trains specifically for sexual assault cases

Paidin Dermody

837 students who responded to the annual CATS survey for the 2015-2016 school year reported being sexually assaulted. 20 percent of these individuals reported their case to the university, including the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, a faculty or staff member, and campus police. 

Lieutenant Evan Ramsay of the UK Police Department is specifically trained to handle sexual assault investigations brought to the police’s attention. Eight additional officers have been approved or are on standby to go through the same training process.

Officers, supervisors and investigators in the department have received sexual assault training at the Department of Criminal Justice Training of the Southern Police Institute, according to Ramsay. Trainees learn investigative tools, techniques and resources to aid in sexual assault investigations during these 40-hour courses.

“Our goal is to have every officer take an advanced course of instruction in sexual assault investigations so every officer could work a case from start to finish and provide a quality service to any survivors,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay has attended sexual assault investigation, crime scene investigation, interview and interrogation courses, yearly training sessions with the VIP Center and training seminars related to the Violence Against Women Act. 

“The training I have attended has allowed me to develop a level of knowledge and resources that I can then apply to any sexual assault cases we have on campus,” Ramsay said. “I am also able to coach younger officers and investigators based on my training and experience to help build their knowledge and experience when responding to or investigating reports of sexual assault.”

Freshmen at UK are required to complete the Green Dot course, a university program to raise awareness of and address crime and violence on campus.

Ramsay believes the Green Dot course significantly increases awareness. All incoming students learn the statistics, resources for and general awareness of sexual assault that they may not have learned on their own.

The VIP Center is one of the main resources on campus for individuals to seek guidance regarding any kind of violence-based crime. Resources and services are provided to male and female survivors of any violence-related crimes.

“I cannot say enough how important a role the VIP Center plays for all members of the UK community,” Ramsay said. “We strive to maintain and build on our relationship with the members of the VIP Center since we have the potential to work closely with them in certain cases.”

Ramsay has also been involved with the UK Police Department’s Self Defense Tactics and Risk Reduction course (S.T.A.R.R.), having served as an instructor for the course in the past. While he does not believe the course should be required for all students, he said he heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who took the course and encourages others to attend.

The S.T.A.R.R. course is a self-defense training class for women. Attendees first discuss safety tips and ways to reduce their risk of being targeted. Then they go through an extensive physical training session that includes punching, kicking and ground defense techniques, according to the UK Police Department website. 

“Graduates of the class said things like they had a newfound level of confidence in themselves and that they felt prepared if they were ever put in a situation where the techniques taught needed to be used,” Ramsay said. “I have two daughters that I would love to go to UK when they get older and if they do, I will use my best dad influence for them to attend this course.”

Ramsay wants to encourage all survivors of sexual assault to report their cases to a UKPD officer or a member of the VIP Center.

“We will never pressure a survivor to prosecute a case, but we want to be able to provide resources available to them and get them in contact with counselors or different entities within the university that can assist them during this time in their life,” Ramsay said.