The Austin Police Department Chief has announced that officers in Austin are now caught up on a backlog of kits involving sexual assault, which were initially reported back in 2017. It has also been stated that the Austin Police Department has officially submitted the final batch of these kits and that their backlog was extremely similar to backlogs also occurring with other departments all across the United States.
During a recent press conference, the chief announced that as of October of last year, the total number of backlogged cases was listed as being 4,080, some of which dates as far back as the 1990s.
It was also stated that the DANY Program and money that had been allocated through the police department itself were all helping to accomplish the task at hand in terms of testing all of the kits to help clear the backlog.
The chief further made it known that sexual assault is something that is often rarely reported, and he urged victims to not only come forward if this happened to them, but also to help prevent sexual assault from happening to other people as well.
According to the chief, the DNA lab that is currently fully staffed worked with DPS, and they remain focused on any cases that may come to the Austin Police Department. Multiple city and state officials are also hard at work to help address the lab’s future operations when it comes to the initial backlog issue.
The reason for the recent press conference was in response to reports back in 2017 that mold had been discovered on a backlog of 850 sexual assault kits. When the mold was initially discovered, there were approximately 1,600 samples in a refrigerator. Austin officials immediately requested that workers improve the seam of the unit in order to prevent moisture from coming in once the mold problem had been reported. Following this, police spent approximately $20,000 on brand new equipment, which included a dehumidifier.
In terms of testing sexual assault kits, there currently is no law in the state of Texas mandating that the kits be tested within a certain amount of time.
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