Assignment: Forensic Current Event
This week in forensics the Houston police department reported that for it is first time in history its department has eliminated its backlog of rape kits. After conducting a full audit of the department a whopping number of 6,600 kits have been processed off shelves. This comes two years after the results of the Los Angeles police department deciding to do away with their back log of 6,132 untested sexual assault evidence kits. Public advocacy following a 2009 report for the rights of rape victims and survivors have been ongoing; resulting in other major city police departments going over their records, including the likes of Tennessee and Detroit.
In 2002 the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) executed a survey to assess the nature of the rape kits backlog at that time. The extremely conservative number they came up with was 180,000 kits sitting on evidence shelves across the country. This was unacceptable and rapists were walking the street that should be in jail. I was working at the Department of Justice at the time and had the opportunity to take that number to the Attorney General. (Chris Asplen. 2013) While I had prepared a fairly sophisticated, albeit necessarily concise, explanation as to why we should find money to outsource these backlogged samples to private laboratories for a morning briefing with Attorney General Reno, I didn’t even need the two minutes that were allotted to my meeting with her. Back in 2002— Chris Asplen started his presentation about the size of the backlog and the impact getting those rape kits testing would have, now that he had a functioning DNA database. Chris Asplen got through about 40 seconds and the Attorney General Reno quietly raised her hand indicating that I should stop talking. I did. And she said, “In other words, the sooner we get the rape kits tested, the sooner the rapes stop”, SAID Chris. (Chris Alspen 2013)
Chris Asplen worked on the first...