On June 20th, 2013 Detective Kat Riley and Police Officer Alexandra Nieves Reyes were presented awards from the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center for their continuing service and dedication working to improve the lives of children impacted by violence.
When a law enforcement officer or child protection worker suspects that a child has been victimized, or witnessed a crime, they need to obtain information from the child that is accurate, but also is obtained with the welfare of the child in mind. Safe Harbor provides a safe and friendly place for a child to talk about what has happened to them. Safe Harbor brings professionals together from all the agencies involved with a case, and the child talks to a highly trained interviewer. This statement is recorded, and if charges are filed, the recorded statement may be used in court in place of the child's testimony. Prior to Safe Harbor opening its doors in 1999, a child would have to be interviewed multiple times not only by law enforcement and child protection workers, but also potentially by medical professionals, a counselor, and a prosecuting attorney. Safe Harbor professionals not only coordinate the videotaped forensic interviews, but also coordinate mental health services for children and families who have come to Safe Harbor.
Both Kat and Alex have spent numerous hours with children and have made a huge impact on countless lives with their work. They are a credit to themselves, the Madison Police Department and the citizens of Madison, Kat is currently working with sensitive crimes involving children in the East District. These crimes against children are not usually highly publicized, unless they are particularly egregious. Child abuse investigations are time consuming and emotionally draining for staff. This recognition from Safe Harbor for their continuing work is an honor well deserved.
Detective Kat Riley Officer Alex Nieves Reyes