Rape kit backlog is gone in Salt Lake, police say, after 5 years of work

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City’s police chief briefed the city council Tuesday that a backlog of more than 700 unprocessed rape kits is now gone.

Thanks to a city council ordinance and funding, Salt Lake City Police were able to get the unprocessed rape kits to the state crime lab for testing.

Back in 2014, police say there were 768 untested rape kits — a backlog that dated back a decade.

“I’ll never forget the tension in the room that continued through a few subsequent discussions, as Salt Lake City council really confronted the police chief at the time, to say — why aren’t we testing these backlogs?” said city council member Erin Mendenhall.

According to police, more than 100 suspects were identified by the processed rape kits.

“They’ve really put their money where their mouth is, they provided us some training,” said Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown.

In addition to officer training, the city council set aside money for a forensic scientist to prioritize getting the kits processed.

“If you’ve been sexually assaulted, we are going to give you the best investigation from the very minute an officer shows up on your front doorstep,” said Brown.

“We’ll never get behind again,” said Brown.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the toll-free Statewide 24-hour Sexual Violence Crisis and Information Hotline at Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100. 

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