COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT
REPORT A SEXUAL ASSAULT TO THE
A message from the Columbia Police Chief Kenneth Burton:
The Mission of the Columbia Police Department is to protect and serve by partnering with the community. In accordance with this mission we understand the need to offer professional and exemplary support to sexual assault survivors.
To accomplish this the Columbia Police Department is embracing a victim centered approach to investigating sexual assaults and has adopted the You Have Options Program. We are committed to empowering victims throughout the process starting with the initial contact with law enforcement.
I hope those considering reporting will take a moment to read about the "20 Elements of a Victim-Centered and Offender-Focused You Have Options Program Law Enforcement Response”. Our officers are always available to speak with you if there are questions about the reporting or the investigative process. There is no requirement to provide any identifying information to get answers and we will work to find a sexual assault advocate and medical care even if you never intend to file a police report.
As a department we understand you have gone through a harrowing experience and we are here to support you and your decisions throughout the investigative process.
Chief Kenneth Burton
Report a sexual assault to the Columbia 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 Columbia 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 Columbia Police Department by phone dial 573-442-6131.
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.
Your call will be answered by a dispatcher who is located offsite. They will want to know the reason for your call. Dispatchers will likely not be 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 Columbia”.
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 Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Columbia 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 Columbia Police Department would likely be responsible for any criminal investigation. In most circumstances the Columbia Police Department is only able to investigate crimes that have occurred within the City of Columbia, 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 Columbia 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 Columbia 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 Boone County, Missouri.
To report a sexual assault to the Columbia Police Department in person you may go to the main police department located at 600 East Walnut or call
573-442-6131 and request that a police officer meet with you.
The Columbia Police Department is open to the public for walk-in questions or reports from 9:00 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 573-442-6131. 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 Columbia Police Department records clerks are trained on the You Have Options Program.
The Columbia Police Department has a private interviewing room directly off of the lobby. You do not need to enter the secure area of the police department to speak with a law enforcement officer in that interview 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 Col, Missouri:
For free, immediate care after a sexual assault go to any Jackson County hospital and tell them you are there for a sexual assault exam or call HelpLine at 541-779-HELP (4357). 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.
University of Missouri Hospital
1 Hospital Dr., Columbia
Sexual Assault Advocacy Services in Boone County, Missouri :
Toll Free: (800) 548-2480
When can the Columbia 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 circumstances Missouri law does not allow us to offer you complete confidentiality and investigative control as outlined in the You Have Options Program. This would mostly likely arise when investigations encompass domestic violence, child abuse or a substantial risk to public safety. There is also a limited possibility that information would be disclosed under Missouri Sunshine Law, however we would inform you if the law required release of your information. Be assured as a department it is our goal to provide as much anonymity as you request and that is legally allowed.
Although our department works closely with the University of Missouri Police Department we will not provide information to them regarding sexual assaults unless requested to do so by the victim. The University of Missouri provides confidential sexual assault victim advocacy through the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center (RSVP). These advocates have a greater understanding of the university’s administrative reporting process and act as a portal to services provided by the university system in the event a victim wishes to receive services via that system. A victim who attends the University of Missouri does not necessarily need to report an event to law enforcement in order to utilize the services of RSVP.
Law enforcement officers at the Columbia 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 Columbia Police Department will respect each victims request for confidentiality whenever legally possible.
Who at the Columbia Police Department is responsible for the agency's participation with the You Have Options Program?
All personnel at the Columbia 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 Columbia Police Department.
Detective Patrick Corcoran
Questions, comments or concerns regarding personnel working at the Columbia Police Department should be directed to Program Administrator Detective Corcoran.
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.