The Austin Police Department has cleared up its rape kit backlog, some of which dated back to the 1990s.
APD worked with several labs to make that possible. Last October, APD’s backlog was at more than 4,000 kits. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley says there were many reasons for that.
In some cases, the victim didn’t want to seek prosecution; in others, a prosecution could be made without DNA. APD, however, says it’s still important to test all the kits.
Police say if they have the DNA saved in their database, it can link an offender to other crimes. Manley now promises to move faster on testing all new kits.
“For the survivors that come forward and report victimization, the kit will be turned in within the next week or two for processing so will get to the lab within the first month,” Manley said. “Then depending on the capacity of the lab that time... we're getting them back as quickly as 60 days.”
Concerns over how APD handled rape kits over the years led to its lab being shut down, which is why the department had to use other labs to handle DNA testing. The last batch of kits was recently sent out for processing and results are expected by September.