News

Actions

FDLE makes strides in catching up on backlog of untested sexual assault kits

FDLE makes strides in catching up on backlog of untested sexual assault kits
FDLE makes strides in catching up on backlog of untested sexual assault kits
Posted at 4:38 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 16:38:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - There have been dramatic reductions in the backlog of untested rape kits in Florida.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has made huge strides getting all the kits tested. 

Back in 2016, there was a backlog of 8,600 sexual assault kits that had been submitted, but remained untested.

Today, FDLE data shows more than 7,000 of those have already been completed. And of those, one in six have led to a hit in CODIS, which is the DNA database of known offenders. 

We've seen results in Leon County. Leon County Sheriff's Office Deputy, Dave Teems, says LCSO was able to make matches in several cases.  

"It's important in this process to have a validity, to make sure that you get these results back as quickly as possible because you want to answer to victims and make sure that we're taking care of them as much as we possibly can, as quickly as we possibly can, and we can help these victims to move forward," said Deputy Teems. 

FDLE reports hundreds of arrests have been made in cases across the Sunshine State from thousands of untested kits.

To ensure this backlog doesn't happen again, Florida law now requires all newly collected kits to be submitted to the crime laboratory within 30 days and processed within 120 days.

According to the latest report, FDLE has a 99 percent compliance rate with an average turnaround time of 84 days for newly received kits. 

That new turnaround time is even more impressive when we tell you this. The Refuge House in Tallahassee estimates there were twice as many rape kits submitted the last two years than in years before 2016.