State justice officials say a “turning point” has been reached in addressing the longstanding backlog of rape evidence kits.
At its peak, there were more than 3,300 DNA sample kits awaiting testing. The legislation approved in 2016 supported spending $4.5 million toward reducing the backlog. Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley said every policing agency certified through the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program has met new requirements on sexual assault policies.
“It’s a crucial turning point I do think,” Tilley said. “You know having a policy for nearly 400 law enforcement agencies, or more than 400 law enforcement agencies in the state to follow is critical.”
Tilley said being on the same page with these policies will lessen consequences for victims and help prosecutors build better cases.
“That will also help build a better case for the prosecution in these cases because these victims deserve justice. So first of all, it’s lessening consequences for the victim and then making sure we have a good prosecutable case in the handling of the collections and transport of these kits. All these things are critical to make certain we have a case.”
Tilley said the new policy is a “trauma informed” approach. That training schedule includes a new 40 hour course taught at Eastern Kentucky University and regionally across the state.