Cole Bevel is helping to organize a fundraiser for Haven for Hope, a project to create peaceful waiting rooms at local police departments and sheriff’s offices for victims of violent crime. The event will be Thursday, June 9, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at the 250 Lounge in the Freight House district at 250 Evans Ave. It includes a silent auction, live music by the Martens Platform and more. The group needs to raise $10,000 for the rooms. For tickets and information, call 287-4395 or email HavenforHope2011@gmail.com.
Tell me about Haven for Hope.
Haven for Hope is, we’re putting in two victim rooms in the Sparks PD, Reno PD and Washoe County sheriff’s department for victims of violent crime or their families. There’s no area for grieving—[currently,] they have to go in the general waiting room. If their family member was killed by a drunk driver, there’s no place for them for privacy.
What will the rooms be like?
We’re putting in coffee pots, snacks, donations from Goodwill and various gospel missions, like clothes and blankets. Stuff for kids. In the horrible event that they lose their parents, we don’t want them in the waiting room with just a soda in their hand. I haven’t gone through that myself, but I have friends who have.
There are two rooms now at the Reno PD, and the impact has been more than they imagined. We’re adding one room at the RPD and renovating the children’s room at the Reno PD, and putting in two new rooms at Washoe County sheriff’s and Sparks PD. We’re doing that through this fundraiser Thursday night through the chamber and local businesses.
And who is “we”?
Each year, the chamber [Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce]—you can apply to be part of the Leadership Reno-Sparks class. They’re grooming us to be the future leaders of the community. Each class does a project. We had four projects on the table, and we ultimately decided to choose this project unanimously. If you or me lost a loved one, and had to sit at the police station on a Saturday night for 10 hours before you could talk to someone, this makes it easier.
So this isn’t just for victims of violent crime but anyone who’s grieving at the police station?
It’s for anybody who needs to get away and get privacy. … There’ll be audio and video equipment when officers interview them, so they don’t have to go over and over it. And if you’re a victim of a violent crime of any type, a lot of people don’t know how to go through the process. We’re creating a one-stop shop packet for anything they need. If you’re a victim of abuse or drunk driving, this is who you can get in touch with. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for these victims because their state of mind is altered.
You mentioned there are existing rooms?
They are why we decided to do this project. Lori Fralick, head of the Victims Services Unit for Reno PD, had funding from NV Energy for those rooms, and the impact has been more than she could imagine. That was just over a year ago. Now, with the RPD and recent budget cuts, the sex crimes division on Court Street now will be moved into the Reno police department, so these rooms will have even more of an impact.
Can you describe the rooms in a bit more detail?
Picture it this way. If there’s a family of five, and their mother passes away from a drunk driver, this gives them a way they can go in this room, and there’s two couches, a TV on the wall, positive messages on the wall, a serene place. So when an officer comes in, it’s like they’re there to serve them. It’s trying to make the worst situation as positive as possible.