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Family Crisis Center receives grant for forensics camera system

A local crisis center is awarded with a big grant and used it to buy some new high-tech forensic equipment.

The Family Crisis Center in Rexburg received a $9,900 grant from the Idaho Governor’s Task Force on Children at Risk. The new forensics camera system arrived Friday.

Margie Harris is the executive director of the Family Crisis Center. She is excited for the community to have this equipment.

“Such a great resource, especially in a rural area like this where it’s hard to get experts and hard to get oversight from the medial community,” said Harris.

The camera system will provide forensic evidence much quicker for law enforcement. They can take photos using a foot pedal, touch screen, or even voice commands. Photos can then be burned to a password-protected DVD and also stored in a secure remote location. This will make it possible to use it at Seasons Medical Clinic under the direction of doctors and nurses, but also in an environment where it’s more comfortable and less invasive for the victim.

“They’ve already been through a lot and so we are trying to minimize how invasive our examination is. We are trying to make them feel comfortable so that we can both get the information that we need for law enforcement, but also so that kid feels comfortable and safe. They may tell us things that they weren’t comfortable telling the interviewer or the detective, which can help with their case, but also we feel strongly that it helps in their healing, that it starts that healing process for them,” said pediatrician Jason Hymas.

“Relieving as much stress and trauma as we can for the kids that we serve,” added Harris.

Area law enforcement was the main agency pushing for this equipment. The family crisis center has a history of providing domestic and child advocacy for the community, so when they applied for the grant, they were awarded just two weeks ago.

The camera system will be housed at Seasons Medical Clinic in cooperation with area law enforcement and prosecutors.

“It works both ways. They support us and we support them,” said Harris.

This is the second child advocacy center in Idaho to have this cutting edge technology according to child services forensic interviewer Kimber Tower. The other location is St. Luke’s Medical Center in Boise. The manufacturer’s representative said there are only about 100 in use in the entire country.

The Family Crisis Center will start using this unit immediately. It already has the first interview session scheduled for next week.

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