Idaho Hopes to Test Most Backlogged Rape Kits by End of 2019
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho State Police lab is putting a dent in the number of backlogged rape kits, according to a recent report.
The 2018 sexual assault kit tracking report released by Idaho State Police Forensic Services shows that the state performed 473 rape kit exams last year, and the lab received 620 kits for testing, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday.
That means police submitted nearly 150 old kits.
The old kits likely were discovered when new laws went into place after a statewide audit in 2016. Prior to 2016, law enforcement agencies were not required to turn the kits into the lab for testing for a variety of reasons.
Since then, legislation has passed that regulates submissions and tracking. Police are required to submit kits unless victims specifically request otherwise or law enforcement determines that no crime has been committed.
If a detective believes there was no crime, then a prosecutor must approve the decision not to test the kit. That's a new requirement by legislators that has increased the number of submissions from law enforcement.
Idaho State Police Forensic Services Director Matthew Gammette said the increase in rape kit submissions to the lab in the city of Meridian has created a lot of work. At the end of 2018, 346 kits had been in the lab longer than 90 days, and the oldest kit had been in the lab for 495 days.
"It's created a backlog now, but we will work through all of the previously unsubmitted kits by the end of 2019," Gammette said.
Gammette believes the lab will be able to manage the new-case workload after the old rape kits are tested.