Ferndale's top cop on the challenges of working rape cases

Ferndale's top cop on the challenges of working rape cases

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Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins explained what makes rape cases complex. Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins explained what makes rape cases complex.
FERNDALE, Mich. (WJBK) -

Local agencies welcome the state's new commitment in helping to solve rape cases. Each rape case presents challenges unlike any other crime.

"Any type of criminal sexual conduct case in and of itself is a challenge for law enforcement," said Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins.

When you have a bank robbery, you go to the bank, but when you are dealing with a rape case, it is so much more complex.

The news that the state is making a new commitment to solving rape cases is welcome to Michigan police agencies.

Collins has worked more criminal investigations than most police officers in Michigan. A veteran of 37 years in law enforcement, the chief outlined for us the challenges in working any rape case.

"The sensitivity of the victim is always first and  foremost in our mind," he said.

Collins realizes some rape victims initially will not come forward.

"The victims themselves in some cases because of the trauma of the incident and just the individual involved may or may not report it in a timely manner, and that's certainly not a criticism. Every individual is different," he explained.

Once a rape case is opened, there are many more investigative spokes to the wheel than almost any other crime.

"That individual will be transported to a hospital in many cases for a rape kit. The hospital has a role to play with the evidence that is taken at the hospital, and then the crime lab plays a role because that has to be analyzed in a specific way," Collins said.

The challenges make each case unique, and the rape victim may experience mental terror and continue to be haunted until there is an arrest and conviction in the case.

Everyone is hoping the state's new commitment will help close some of these unsolved rape cases.

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