REPORT A SEXUAL ASSAULT TO THE
A message from the Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb:
The best advice I have ever received was simple; Do the right thing. Throughout my career in law enforcement, I have strived to do just that and to treat people the way I would hope to be treated if the roles were reversed. Sometimes the best way to do that is listen and believe.
Unfortunately, this has not always been the perspective or practice of the police. By participating in the You Have Options Program, we at the Bolivar Police Department are demonstrating our commitment to encourage and listen to victims of sexual assault. We further demonstrate our willingness and desire to address the concerns and barriers that so often prevent people from reporting the crime that has happened to them, or someone they love.
We take great pride in our community and honestly believe that our citizen’s deserve the best and most professional law enforcement that we can provide. To meet that goal, I have ensured that each one of our officers has received training on victim-centered investigations and the importance of advocacy to those persons who have had so much taken from them at the hands and decisions of others. Also, our investigators have been extensively trained in advanced techniques and strategies of sexual assault investigations and trauma informed investigations.
We recognize that reporting to law enforcement is the first small step of a long road that survivors of sexual assault take towards regaining security, dignity, and control over their lives. We understand that this process is different for each person and must be done when they are ready. No employee of the Bolivar Police Department will force a survivor to make a decision about reporting, or their participation in a criminal investigation. Further, we will only work at the pace right for the survivor, regardless of any criminal investigation. Our first priority is the personal safety and mental health of the survivor.
I welcome all of our citizens to learn more about the You Have Options Program and the Bolivar Police Department’s response to sexual assault investigations. Much of this information can be found within the pages of this website, but all of my staff are also at your service to answer any questions you may have. There is never a need to provide any identifying information to have questions answered or help in obtaining advocacy services.
Report a sexual assault to the Bolivar Police Department using an online report form:
There is no requirement to provide any identifying information on the report form and no fields on the form are required. You may choose to have a law enforcement officer contact you regarding your online report, include your contact information but request that law enforcement not contact you unless your information could assist in another investigation, request that law enforcement not contact you or request that a sexual assault advocate contact you instead of a law enforcement officer.
The Bolivar Police Department documents every online report received with a case number. All provided information is preserved within the report associated with that case number. This includes any information regarding the victim or the suspect. Reports can be made by someone other than the victim. All reasonable attempts will be made by law enforcement to respect the wishes of the person who was victimized when a report is received by someone other than the victim. If possible, contact with the victim will be made prior to any criminal investigative process being conducted such as speaking with a reported perpetrator.
To report a sexual assault to the Bolivar Police Department by phone dial 417-326-5298.
If at this point you would like to remain anonymous consider having a sexual assault advocate initiate this call on your behalf. The advocate can provide their contact information to the law enforcement officer that you speak with allowing law enforcement a way to make contact with you in the future (through the advocate) if new information is discovered regarding your report.
Depending on the time of day, your call will be answered by either a police clerk (8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST) who is located within the Bolivar Police Department or a dispatcher who is located offsite at a county dispatch center. Both will want to know the reason for your call. All Bolivar Police Department clerks are trained on the You Have Options Program. County dispatchers will likely not be as familiar with the program options.
It is okay to say you would like to speak with a law enforcement officer regarding your options for reporting a sexual assault or you may choose to tell the call taker you would like to report a sexual assault. You will be asked for your name, phone number and potentially more detailed information such as where the crime occurred. This question is asked to determine what law enforcement agency will receive your request for contact. If you are not ready to give the exact location where the crime occurred it is okay to be more generic such as “in the City of Bolivar”.
Please be aware that crimes are typically investigated by the law enforcement agency associated with where the crime occurred, not where the victim or suspect lives and jurisdictional boundaries between the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Bolivar Police Department can vary depending on the specific location of the crime. You are not expected to know those jurisdictional boundaries but providing the specific location of the crime to a dispatcher may help you determine if the Bolivar Police Department would likely be responsible for any criminal investigation. In most circumstances the Bolivar Police Department is only able to investigate crimes that have occurred within the City of Bolivar, Missouri.
It may take some time for a law enforcement officer to return your call. This will depend on the call activity at the time and the number of other pending calls received prior to your call. Most calls to the Bolivar Police Department are returned by an officer within an hour.
It will be helpful to have an idea of the questions you would like answered prior to the law enforcement officer returning your call. If you are only seeking information and do not want law enforcement to document any of the information you provide please tell that to the officer at the beginning of your phone call so they do not inadvertently begin a case report without your permission. There is no requirement that you provide the officer with any identifying information or details about your circumstances until you are ready to do so.
Officers at the Bolivar Police Department are trained to assist you with locating sexual assault advocacy services and can provide information on how to obtain a sexual assault forensic examination. See below for more detailed information on services for sexual assault survivors in Polk County, Missouri.
To report a sexual assault to the Bolivar Police Department in person you may go to the police department located at 211 W. Walnut or call 417-326-5298
and request that a police officer meet with you.
The Bolivar Police Department is open to the public for walk-in questions or reports from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Officers are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. To reach an officer outside of the hours previously mentioned please telephone the department at 417-326-5298. See below for pictures of the police department and interview room.
If you would like to remain anonymous consider having a sexual assault advocate accompany you to this initial meeting with law enforcement. The advocate can provide their contact information to the law enforcement officer that you speak with allowing law enforcement a way to make contact with you in the future (through the advocate) if new information is discovered regarding your report.
Once inside the lobby of the police department you will be greeted by a records clerk. It is okay to say you would like to speak with a law enforcement officer regarding your options for reporting a sexual assault or you may choose to tell the clerk you would like to report a sexual assault. You may also just request to speak with an officer and tell the clerk you would rather not provide a reason until you are talking to the officer. All Bolivar Police Department records clerks are trained on the You Have Options Program.
The Bolivar Police Department has a private interviewing room. Answers to frequently asked questions about the law enforcement interview process can be found HERE.
Resources for sexual assault survivors in
Sexual Assault Examinations in Polk County, Missouri:
For free, immediate care after a sexual assault go to CM and tell them you are there for a sexual assault exam. Sexual assault forensic examinations are free and available at any time of the day or night. See the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about sexual assault forensic examinations.
Citizens Memorial Hospital:
1500 N. Oakland Ave., Bolivar, MO
Sexual Assault Advocacy Services in Polk County, Missouri:
House of Hope
When can the Bolivar Police Department not keep information a sexual assault victim provides confidential or private?
In most cases the sexual assault victim controls who is contacted during an investigation at all You Have Options Program Participating Law Enforcement Agencies. This includes suspects and witnesses. This helps to limit who knows a report has been made until the victim is ready for that information to be known.
In some instances the law does not allow us to offer all of the You Have Options Program’s 20 Elements regarding confidentiality and investigative control. Most often this occurs during investigations involving domestic violence, child abuse or a unique circumstance where there is a significant threat to public safety. Missouri public records requests or court orders may also mandate that the Bolivar Police Department release information on a case, though this is unlikely in the vast majority of sexual assault investigations. You are encouraged to speak anonymously with a police officer at the Bolivar Police Department if you are concerned about maintaining your privacy during the reporting and investigative process.
If a reported sexual assault involves students of Southwest Baptist university, the Bolivar Police Department does not provide information that identifies the sexual assault victim to SBU without that victim’s permission. The Bolivar Police Department and SBU have a strong collaborative response to sexual violence and all Bolivar Police Department officers can assist victims with reporting their experience to confidential advisors within SBU. These advisors have the best understanding of the university’s administrative reporting process and are able to discuss options for both reporting and accommodations on campus while still respecting the victims requested level of confidentiality. Click HERE for more information about confidential advisors at SBU.
Law enforcement officers at the Bolivar Police Department work diligently to identify and collect evidence on perpetrators of sexual assault. Many of these sexual offenders are serial offenders. Documenting reports of sexual assault is an important first step in making it more difficult for these offenders to continue their criminal behavior. When a victim chooses to participate in a Complete Investigation and their case is turned over to an office of prosecution, other reports involving the same perpetrator may also be provided to the prosecutor. This could impact the level of confidentiality requested by other victims. The Bolivar Police Department will respect each victims request for confidentiality whenever legally possible.
Who at the Bolivar Police Department is responsible for the agency's participation with the You Have Options Program?
All personnel at the Bolivar Police Department have received training on the You Have Options Program and the elements offered to all victims of sexual assault. Participation in the Program requires each law enforcement agency to designate, at a minimum, one YHOP administrator and one YHOP trainer. The following listed personnel are serving in those capacities for the Bolivar Police Department.
Lieutenant Roger Barron
Questions, comments or concerns regarding personnel working at the Bolivar Police Department should be directed to Program Administrator Stacey Velez.
Any person who has reason to believe a law enforcement agency participating in the You Have Options Program is willfully and repeatedly disregarding the elements of the You Have Options Program is encouraged to contact the You Have Options Program Director directly by using the contact page found HERE.