Mayor signs executive order to deal with rape kit backlog
January 17, 2018 06:21 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The City of Albuquerque has a lot of work to do when dealing with a backlog of rape kits. On Wednesday, Mayor Tim Keller announced he will issue an executive order, but his plan does come with some challenges.
There are thousands of untested rape kits sitting in crime labs across the state, some going as far back as the 1980s. In 2016, a state audit showed there are 5,440 untested kits across the state, with 4,080 from Albuquerque alone.
"This is something we cannot let stand any longer in our city," Keller said.
Keller said the previous administration acknowledged the problem but nothing was done. He said new leadership at the city's crime lab and his executive order will change that.
Part of the order instructs APD to collaborate with the Albuquerque Sexual Assault Evidence Response Team to develop a comprehensive plan to address the backlog.
"From start to finish, if there was no interruption, an analyst could test one kit in about 40 hours plus," said Connie Monahan, who serves as a statewide coordinator for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
Not only will that processing time be an issue, but finances will be a major factor as well. The testing will come at the cost at about a $4 million price tag.
"Part of this plan is to come up with the actual figure, that's based on old information that we were given. That's kind of a ballpark," Keller said. "It's going to take more than that to set it up so we can prevent the backlog. That's why this is also part of our legislative priority list."
Staffing has also become an issue. Officials say the city's crime lab currently has nine full-time analysts, with six still in training, a process that can last up to a year.
Keller expects to have the plan handed to him by March 15.
Updated: January 17, 2018 06:21 PM
Created: January 17, 2018 06:32 AM
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