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NMSU's Creative Media Institute's child safety video recognized with three awards

New Mexico State University's Creative Media Institute has been recognized with three awards from three different video competitions for its work in "Ensuring Child Safety Upon Parental Arrest," the first video of a series of three in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies.

A woman is handcuffed in the Creative Media Institute production 'Ensuring Child Safety: In Abuse and Neglect Referrals.' (Submitted Photo)

The awards received are the Telly Awards' Bronze Medal, the Accolade Award of Merit and the Communicator Award of Distinction.

"The videos are realistic, a true collaboration recognizing the respected but different responsibilities in responding to child abuse and neglect," said Shelly A. Bucher, senior operations director of the Southwest Institute for Family & Child Advocacy. "The most challenging part of shooting the video was ensuring authenticity and credibility using a combination of professionals in the field, actors and realistic scripts, and portraying the intensity of the situation without being melodramatic. It was rewarding to have this challenge overcome."

Serving as a training tool, the video address the protocol to ensure child safety and minimize trauma during an adult arrest. A 2007 state law, known as HB 271, requires law enforcement to identify minors during adult arrest. A 2009 change to the Children's Code was also part of the video's inspiration.

The video featured real law enforcement and social workers, as well as actors, and was directed by Mitch Fowler. Sherwin Lau, college assistant professor at CMI, served as director, additional editor, colorist and sound designer.

"The Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Training Academy has notified us that they will use this training as part of basic training," Bucher said. "In addition, we are building on the relationships established during this project to move forward in the agenda to create multi-disciplinary teams in each New Mexico county, thereby improving system response to child sexual and physical abuse."

Also assisting in production of the video were the Bernalillo County Sheriff 's Office, Children Youth and Families, Protective Services Division and New Mexico Children's Justice Act Advisory Group.

"Working with CMI to create these videos has expanded our thinking regarding ways to implement trainings," said Sabrina Van Why, SWIFCA senior program specialist. "This project has sparked conversation regarding other places where a custom video would be more impactful then the current training format."

A planning committee helped identify the learning objectives to further development of the script. Professionals in law enforcement, protective services, criminal justice and forensic services advised on technical matters.

"We will offer education, training and advocacy in child welfare across west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California," Bucher added.

Funding for the project was provided by the Criminal Justice Act Advisory Group.
"Members of the Criminal Justice Act Advisory Group, as well as representatives of the CYFD Office of the Secretary, have been very impressed with the quality of this project," Van Why said.

Gov. Susana Martinez announced earlier this year that NMSU has been designated as a Southwest Training Center for the National Child Protection Training Center.

To view the video, visit http://vimeo.com/50412092.