LAPD Officially Clears Rape Kit Backlog
Approximately two and a half years later, technicians have finally signed off on the last of them as part of a mandate to clear the backlog, Mayor Antionio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said at a City Hall press conference Wednesday.
"Today, we pledge to never let justice wait like this again," Villaraigosa said. City Controller Wendy Greuel said that about 1000 kits matched suspects in law enforcement databases.
Just getting through the backlog was a huge undertaking, reported the LA Times:
"Amid the city's worsening fiscal crisis, the endeavor to test the huge amount of evidence quickly became a financial quandary. Police officials cobbled together several million dollars in federal grants, public funds and private donations to cover the costs of outsourcing the testing to private labs. The mayor and police officials also pressed the City Council for permission to set aside funds to add more analysts to the LAPD's lab despite a citywide hiring freeze."
The announcement coincides with National Denim Day, a day that encourages people to wear jeans in support of sexual assault victims. Many officials at the news conference were seen wearing jeans.
Advocates at the press conference said the announcement is a step in the right direction.
"We've been working on this issue for over seven years," said Darcy Pollan of Peace Over Violence.
The city said it fully intends to keep current staffing numbers high with its scientific investigation division, and said the city is committed to never having any type of backlog with DNA evidence kits.
The backlog was reported as eliminated as early as December 2010, but test results had not been properly certified by LAPD analysts.