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New training for child abuse investigations saves time and money

Avery Schneider

Despite frequently dealing with cases of child abuse, many law enforcers across New York are not proficient at handling them. New online training from the State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services aims to change that and save law enforcement agencies time and money in the process.

In cases of child abuse, first contact is everything, from the right words said, or not said, to proper investigations and putting victims in touch with advocates and resources.

Town of Evans Police Chief Ernest Masullo says he has been doing child abuse training with his officers for years, going as far back as when course videos came on VCR tapes. He says it is effective, but time-consuming.

“It’s pulling them off the road and putting them in a room and training them,” said Masullo.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
Town of Evans Police Chief Ernest Masullo

For a town like Evans with only 29 officers, training leaves the department with a big deficit of manpower and a strain on the budget.

With the free online training for dealing with child abuse now available from New York State, Masullo plans to have his department take full advantage.

“A special order will be put out where it will be mandatory training,” Masullo said.

With internet-enabled laptops in every patrol car, officers like Masullo’s will be able to take their training anytime, anywhere. They will learn how to recognize harm to a child, ensure victims are not re-traumatized and conduct more thorough investigations.

While online training lacks the engagement of a classroom, Masullo says his officers make up for it by bouncing ideas and experiences off one another.

“If they don’t have an answer to the question, they go to another person,” said Masullo. “Then they eventually work their way up to the detectives, or to my office, and we find an answer for them.”

Officers can take the training as often as they need it, and even use it to assess their responses on the job. Masullo says everyone, including himself, stands to gain from the training.