SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab Biology Team was nominated for and received the Governor’s award for outstanding public service.
The governor’s award for excellence provides an opportunity for state employees to be recognized for outstanding public service and achievements that display dedication to Utah citizens.
The Crime Lab Biology Team has implemented state-of-the-art technology, and re-designed workflows to help bring resolution to a sexual assault kit backlog crisis that has been facing the nation.
In July 2019, the team not only set out to complete the existing current case backlog of over 1,900 sexual assault kits in the state by July 2020 but to also process through all incoming kits submitted during the year.
The team reached their goal and will have completed testing of over 3,100 sexual assault kits during the last 12 months.
The team has also worked with partners at the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to process through a backlog of over 5,000 sexual assault kits that were previously unsubmitted, untested, or partially tested prior to 2015. The DPS Crime Lab’s Biology Team completed those kits in Aug. 2020.
Thanks to the DPS Crime Lab’s Biology Team, victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecution, and other partners, Utah has become one of the only states in the nation to have completed testing of all backlogged sexual assault kits.