Special Victims Unit detectives have a new tool to tackle crime within TPD

The soft interview room will be used by the Special Victims Unit. The purpose is to make victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse feel more comfortable. (WNWO)

TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) - The Toledo Police Department introduced the "soft room."

The room has been created for interviews with victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence.

For years, the Special Victims Unit conducted interviews of sexual abuse or domestic violence in the same room as everything else.

“We used to interview our victims in suspect rooms, a suspect interrogation room. It’s white, plastic chairs, plastic table,” said Detective Mark Nelson, with TPD’s Special Victims Unit.

SVU detectives are often the voice of the voiceless.

“They are going through all this trauma, bad feelings, and they don’t know how to deal with it,” said Detective Nelson. “First step is to come talk to us.”

In order to be that voice, detectives need to make these victims feel safe.

“It’s almost like your living room, as opposed to an interrogation room or interview room,” said Chief George Kral, with TPD.

The soft room has soft colors and soft chairs. SVU wanted to make it a more inviting environment.

“We hope it will help our victims and survivors have a less traumatic way of telling us what happened,” said Chief Kral.

The soft interview room is strictly for SVU victims.

“It’s one more step to make them feel comfortable,” said Detective Nelson.

SVU detectives said they can see multiple people a day, and want to create more soft rooms in the future.

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