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Prosecutor’s Office Purchases Forensic Refrigerator of SJRMC

May 21, 2014

Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) in Plymouth was presented with a secure forensic refrigerator to store evidence collected during sexual assault investigations on Wednesday.

The Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office purchased the refrigerator to support the county’s new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The new equipment allows forensic evidence to be stored safely until law enforcement can process it during an investigation.

County Prosecutor David Holmes appointed Chief Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman to head up the SART team consisting of Det. Lt. Duane Culp of the Marshall County Police Department, Victim Assistance Advocate Tracy Holloway, and recently certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Brooke Huffman.  The Sexual Assault Response Team has been meeting regularly since October of 2013 in an effort to draft law enforcement response protocols when a sexual assault case is investigated anywhere in Marshall County.   

The Marshall County SART brings law enforcement, victim resources and healthcare agencies together to improve response to sexual assaults while guiding and informing local sexual assault prevention efforts. The Marshall County team is comprised of:

The SART has drawn upon best practices across the country to combat sexual assault in this county,” Chipman said. “Studies prove that the best way to address these crimes is to approach them with a coordinated, multidisciplinary response.”

The recent addition of the SANEs  (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s)who can conduct a complete and sensitive forensic medical examination that provides critical and medically neutral documentation of the assault, including evidence collectionat SJRMC in Plymouth prompted the need for a secure location to store evidence. SANE nurses complete extra education and clinical preparation in order to provide medical forensic care for patients who have experienced sexual assault or abuse.

“We felt having a certified SANE nurse here at Plymouth is what’s best for this community,” Loretta Schmidt, MSN, CPHQ, SJRMC president and CNO in Plymouth. “The last thing a victim wants is to travel an hour for an examination.”