Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Delay of Shame No Excuse for Backlog in Police Testing of Rape Kits

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Delay of Shame No Excuse for Backlog in Police Testing of Rape Kits

Article excerpt

The victims of rape, one of the worst crimes than can be committed, should expect that evidence will be gathered and processed expeditiously. If rape kits (the results of a forensic exam) aren't processed, there's obviously a reduced chance rapists will be identified and caught. The DNA evidence yielded by rape kits is crucial to ensuring public safety.

The state Health Department said this week that only a third of Pennsylvania's 1,000 police agencies are in compliance with the mandate to declare how many untested rape kits are still sitting in evidence rooms. The rule is designed to pressure police departments to get the number of rape kits sitting on evidence room shelves to zero.

Defenders of police departments not in compliance with the law say that because the rule is relatively new, word of mandatory reporting to the Health Department hasn't trickled down to all the station commanders and precinct captains. But isn't it the job of leaders to know the regulations that apply to their agency? …

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