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LAPD Can Keep Better Track of Untested Rape Kits, Audit Finds

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City Controller Wendy Greuel has taken a look at the Los Angeles Police Department's approach to tackling a backlog of over 7,000 untested rape kits in recent months, and has found that there is much room for improvement in how the LAPD handles this kind of evidence.

Though the LAPD managed to get their backlog down to 772 untested kits earlier this year after the backlog was discovered in 2008, the audit concludes "the Department still needs to establish a comprehensive information tracking system and accurately report how many kits are being retested due to technological advances," according to Greuel's office. While those 7,000 kits languished, 217 exceeded the statute of limitations associated with the associated case.

Using new technology, the LAPD put $3 million into retesting 2,453 rape kits, which yielded more accurate test results. Though Greuel found the LAPD's progress "laudable," she notes that "greater reporting controls should be implemented because the retested kits were not included in LAPD’s initial reporting process." Greuel is also pushing for the LAPD to implement a "comprehensive information system" to manage the tracking of as-yet tested sexual assault and rape kits.

As a result of these enhanced controls, Grueul believes the LAPD would be able to "provide a greater sense of closure to the survivors of rape and sexual abuse."