Salt Lake City Police Chief Says No Longer A Backlog Of Rape Kits
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — There’s not much positivity when talking about rape kits.
Which is why a Salt Lake City council work meeting Tuesday afternoon was different.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are, and change the ending,” said Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown.
Chief Brown was quoting an author, but he was also talking to Salt Lake City council members about the success his department has had in dealing with the hundreds of rape kits that weren’t being processed by investigators.
Five years ago, the Salt Lake City council gave police $50,000 so every single kit with usable DNA evidence would be tested.
There were 768 tape kits that had not been processed, creating a backlog detectives were having a difficult time sorting through.
@slcpd @ChiefMikeBrown talking to Salt Lake City council about update on backlog of rape kits. More than 100 suspects have been identified since work began on backlogged kits 5 years ago. 42 suspects were not known by police before. @KSL5TV at 5 and 6. #KSLTV pic.twitter.com/t3C5xHtySh
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) May 7, 2019
“We took that money and we sought out the very best doctors and those that taught and knew the most about sexual assault investigations,” said Chief Brown.
Of those 768 rape kits, detectives found 301 of them had usable DNA evidence.
Now that all the kits have been tested, Chief Brown said more than a hundred suspects have been identified.
That includes 42 suspects who weren’t known before.
It’s exactly what the council wanted for victims when giving police the money.
“No one can articulate for any victim what this means to them, but we can imagine a sense of value and justice,” said Salt Lake City councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.
Going forward, Chief Brown said officers have been trained to handle sexual assault cases better than in years before to make sure victims are taken seriously from the very beginning.
“If you’ve been sexually assaulted, we’re going to give you the best investigation from the very minute an officer shows up on your front door step to the time we take it for screening and hopefully prosecution,” said Chief Brown. “No, we will never get behind again.”
Even with all those suspects that have been identified through testing, police still haven’t been able to actually find all of them.
However, they can put that information into a database.
That way, in the future, those suspects might be brought to justice if they’re found in other cases.
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