Susie’s Place opened in 2009 with Perry as the only forensic interviewer. Allison Creekmore was hired in 2010 and Whitney Mallow joined the staff in ‘11. The staff opened a second center in Bloomington last year and recently moved to a new Avon location nearly tripling in size.
“We’ve been able to serve 28 counties in Indiana and eight different states,” Perry said. “We will conduct over 900 interviews this year.”
Det. Brian Nugent of the Avon Police Department serves on the center’s multi-disciplinery team and brings his law enforcement expertise to the team.
“This can be the most negative experience in the life of a child,” Nugent said. “They have to sit inside a room with a total stranger and tell their story. I had no level of comfort interviewing these children.”
He said watching the interviewers at Susie’s Place speak to the children and put them at ease is an amazing process.
“In five to 10 minutes, they have them playing tic-tac-toe and talking about what subject they like in school,” he said. “They’ve not only made my job easier — they’ve made my job possible. This is an incredible resource.”