REPORT A SEXUAL ASSAULT TO THE
A message from Garfield County Sheriff Drew Hyer:
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office participation in the You Have Options Program (YHOP) is our commitment to sexual assault victims that they will not only be heard, but also have their individual concerns addressed during both the reporting and investigative process. The person who committed the sexual assault is solely responsible for that assault and one of our jobs as law enforcement officers is to gather evidence that will allow that offender to be held accountable for his/her crimes. Our deputies receive advanced training on trauma interviewing and investigative strategies to identify serial sexual perpetrators to assist us in that goal. None of that work can begin until the sexual assault is reported.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has long recognized the importance of working with community members as well as health and prevention organizations. These relationships are crucial during the process of investigating and solving the crime of sexual assault. The YHOP program is a commitment to victims of sexual assault to work with them throughout this process, should they choose to report.
We pledge to every victim of sexual assault who enters the program by reporting their victimization that we will abide by these concepts. We understand that every victim of sexual assault will have unique concerns during the reporting process and we will work with each victim to address those concerns. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office will not require any sexual assault victim to make a decision regarding their participation in a criminal investigation when they initially report. Sexual assault victims are given the time they need to make the decisions right for them, regardless of the criminal investigation. Priority is always given to a sexual assault victim’s physical safety and mental well-being.
I hope that 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. Outlined within those elements are options for reporting at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Our deputies are always available to speak with victims if there are questions about the reporting or investigative process. There is no requirement to provide any identifying information to get answers. You may remain anonymous. We will provide a sexual assault advocate and medical care whenever possible, even if they never intend to file a police report.
Report a sexual assault to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office 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 Garfield County Sheriff's Office 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 Garfield County Sheriff's Office by phone dial 509-843-3494.
If at this point you would like to remain anonymous consider having a sexual assault advocate or other support person 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 or support person) if new information is discovered regarding your report.
Your call, day or night, will be answered by a Garfield County dispatcher located within the Sheriff's department. When they identify themselves you can let them know the reason for your call. All of Garfield County Sheriff's Dispatchers are trained on the You Have Options Program.
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. If you are not comfortable giving the exact location where the crime occurred it is okay to be more generic such as “in the City of Pomeroy."
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. For all crimes occurring within Garfield County, investigations will be done by the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. If the crime occured in another city or county outside of Garfield County, our dispatcher will ask your permission to give your complaint and contact information to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction.
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 Garfield County Sheriff's Office are returned by a deputy 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.
Deputies at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office 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 Garfield County, Washington.
To report a sexual assault to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office in person you may go to 789 Main Street or call 509-843-3494 and request that a deputy meet with you.
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office is open to the public for walk-in questions or reports from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Deputies are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. To reach a deputy outside of the hours previously mentioned please telephone the department at 509-843-3494.
If you would like to remain anonymous consider having a sexual assault advocate or other support person 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 or support person) if new information is discovered regarding your report.
Once inside the lobby of the Sheriff's Office you will be greeted by our Dispatcher/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 Garfield County Dispatchers are trained on the You Have Options Program.
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office has two private interviewing rooms discretely located in the City of Pomeroy. One of the rooms is located at Pomeroy High School (1090 Pataha Street), and the other is located at the Garfield County Human Services building (856 Main Street). Both rooms have a private entrance to assist with your requested level of privacy.
Resources for sexual assault survivors in
Sexual Assault Examinations for Garfield County are provided by Tri-State Hospital in Clarkston, Washington.
For free, immediate care after a sexual assault go to Tri-State Hospital and tell them you are there for a sexual assault exam. After you inform them of the location of the crime they will contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Our responding deputy will make sure that a sexual assault advocate has been contacted and sent to the Hospital, if the Hospital hasn’t already done this. Sexual assault forensic examinations are free and available at any time of the day or night. The Garfield County Health District Hospital in Pomeroy is not equipped to provide a forensic examination. However, you are welcome to come to their Emergency Center, and the staff will assist you in getting to Tri-State Hospital in Clarkston.
Tri-State Memorial Hospital
1221 Highland Avenue
Clarkston, WA 99403
Sexual Assault Advocacy Services in Garfield County, Washington:
If you would like a Sexual Assault Advocate to assist you in reporting an assault, you may leave your report and contact information on the online report form page and request contact “only” by a sexual assault advocate. The report will be forwarded to our Garfield County advocate, and she will contact you. Or if you would like to speak to an advocate immediately, please call 509-843-3791.
For more information about Garfield County Sexual Assault Advocacy please visit their website.
When can the Garfield County Sheriff's Office not keep information a sexual assault victim provides confidential or private?
Under certain circumstances the law may not allow the Garfield County Sheriff's Office 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 circumstance where there is a significant threat to public safety. In most cases the sexual assault victim controls who is contacted during an investigation at all You Have Options Program Participating Law Enforcement Agencies, including law enforcement interviews with 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. It is the intent of the Garfield County Sheriff's Office to respect each sexual assault victims requested level of privacy. However, it is important to remember that the Garfield County Sheriff's Office is a law enforcement agency and will comply with all legal mandates regarding information that is documented during the course of an investigation.
Washington public records requests or court orders may mandate that the Garfield County Sheriff's Office release information on a case, though this is unlikely in the vast majority of sexual assault investigations. Additionally, all information provided to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office may be accessed by other law enforcement agencies and, as part of the criminal justice process, may be turned over to an office of prosecution. 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 and/or victim may also be provided to the office of prosecution. This could impact the level of confidentiality requested. Victims are encouraged to speak anonymously with a deputy at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office regarding concerns about maintaining privacy during the reporting and investigative process.
If a reported sexual assault involves students of the Pomeroy School District, the Garfield County Sheriff's Office and the school administration will provide strict confidentiality of the victim's identity.
Why is my information so important for law enforcement to have?
Law enforcement officers at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office work diligently to identify and collect evidence on perpetrators of sexual assault, many of whom are serial offenders. The majority of sexual assaults are not reported so we are very appreciative of each person who makes the choice to share this important information with us. Documenting reports of sexual assault is an important first step in making it more difficult for these offenders to continue their criminal behavior.
Most people do not sexually assault others. However, a small percentage of the population commits a large number of sexual assaults, resulting in multiple opportunities for those offenders to be held accountable, but only if law enforcement knows about the crimes. That is why officers at You Have Options Law Enforcement Agencies are grateful for every report of sexual assault, regardless of the victim's choice to participate in the criminal justice process. The You Have Options Program understands that when victims are empowered to provide information in a way that is right for them, a more accurate picture of an offender's behavior will ultimately be documented for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and juries.
Law enforcement officers associated with the You Have Options Program understand that it is never the responsibility of a victim to prevent their offender's future criminal behavior. The only person responsible for sexual assault victimization is the person who committed the sexual assault. You will never be pressured to participate in a criminal investigation. For more information please visit the Questions section of this site.
Who at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office is responsible for the agency's participation with the You Have Options Program?
All personnel at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office have received training on the You Have Options Program and the elements offered to all victims of sexual assault. Participation in the You Have Options 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 Garfield County Sheriff's Office.
Senior Chaplain Roger Pedersen
Deputy Jim Nelson
Questions, comments or concerns regarding personnel working at the Garfield County Sheriff's Office should be directed to Program Administrator Roger Pedersen.
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.
GARFIELD COUNTY "YOU HAVE OPTIONS" IS FUNDED IN LARGE PART BY A FEDERAL STOP GRANT:
This project was supported by subgrant No. F14-31103-100 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Grant funds are administered by the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, Community Services and Housing Division, Washington State Department of Commerce.