On Monday, September 17, 2012, the District Attorney’s Office hosted a sexual assault investigations training at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield for approximately 70 law enforcement officers from throughout Berkshire County.

The day-long conference entitled “The Dynamics of Sexual Assault Investigations: Applying New Strategies” addressed several topics relevant to modern investigative techniques in sexual assault investigation and looked at the new research and science behind these difficult cases.  Featured presentations included Investigative Techniques in Sexual Assault Cases presented by Retired Det. Lt. Elaine Gill, Massachusetts State Police; Understanding Contents and Protocol for the Rape Kit by Mary Walz-Watson, SANE Nurse Coordinator; Collecting Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases, Jennifer Preisig, Chemist III, and Alison Jackobek, Chemist II, of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory; Using Technology as an Investigative Tool, presented by Second Assistant District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer, III; and Prosecuting Sexual Assault Cases, presented by Assistant District Attorneys Rachael T. Eramo and Marianne Shelvey. 

The afternoon session also included a presentation on human trafficking by Lt. Pi Heseltine, Massachusetts State Police Human Trafficking Unit.  The Human Trafficking Task Force was created as part of the anti-human trafficking law.  The task force is charged with addressing human trafficking through service development, demand reduction, system change, public awareness, and training. The task force is chaired by Attorney General Martha Coakley and includes state and community agencies.

Effective response to these complex cases requires a teamwork approach.  The training offered local officers a comprehensive view of these sensitive cases and provided them with strategies and techniques to both support the victim and successfully bring the perpetrator to justice.