(ST. JOSPEH, Mo.) Officers with the St. Joseph Police Department received training in child exploitation cases late last month.
The department said the training was given by the National Criminal Justice Training Center, and focused on a multi-disciplinary team approach to physical and sexual child abuse cases.
Sergeant Jason Strong, head of the SJPD Family Crime Unit, said the department currently has a functioning multi-disciplinary team in the area. That team is comprised of the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department, the Buchanan County Prosecuting Office, the Northwest Missouri Child Advocacy Center, other medical providers and the children's division.
Strong said the training was not a requirement, however they decided to offer the training because it will help the officers when investigating child abuse cases.
"Sometimes child abuse isn't always apparent. So, we hope to give them [officers] a new skill set to recognize and to better document and to work within our multi-disciplinary team which is very important," Strong said.
The training informed officers of the best practices other law enforcement agencies are utilizing throughout the nation. It also went over new tips and techniques for investigating both physical and sexual child abuse cases.
"We deal with a large amount of physical and sexual child abuse towards children," Strong said. "So while we had investigators from several agencies including children's division and we also had patrolmen in this class, and the idea behind that is to improve our officers."