Lawrence Police on Friday held an open house to showcase a new "kid-friendly" interview room that will be used to question juvenile victims of crime.
The idea is to give young victims a place to feel safe while talking to police and social workers and to allow the interview to be videotaped for possible use in court.
The room, inside the department's west-side Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, is decorated with leather couches, a kid-sized table and pictures of animals. It was renovated with help from a $5,000 grant from the state's Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services that paid for video equipment.
It's been in use since October, but the department put finishing touches on the room last month.
Before the room opened, child victims would often be interviewed either at school, at home or in a "sterile" interview room, said Lynnea Kaufman, SRS program consultant. But the interviews couldn't always be videotaped and often would be interrupted at key moments.
"In our trainings, we learn that it's much easier for the child to feel comfortable disclosing if they're in a child-friendly setting," she said.