Getting backlogged rape kits tested is a priority for Gov. Doug Ducey.
In a statement released Monday, Ducey promised he will find the resources to help local police departments do this. Spokesman Daniel Scarpinato also noted Maricopa County and the Phoenix Police Department have received federal grants to test their kit backlog.
“There’s about 6,400 untested kits across the state,” he said. “Of those, about 4,300 are in Maricopa County alone.”
The numbers are from the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force’s latest report, released last week. Among other things, the task force also recommended a test-all policy in all Arizona jurisdictions.
State senator Katie Hobbs – who was a social worker – is a member of the task force. She said a test-all policy for sexual assault kits helps brings closure to victims. So does testing all kits currently in evidence.
“[Testing backlogged rape kits] is – in the whole scheme of things that we need to do to help victims in those situations – a real small piece of it. But, while it’s small, it can bring a huge amount of justice for a victim.”
Ducey admits there is more work to be done.
“Arizona is pleased to have seen two recent indictments thanks to early efforts to test these forgotten rape kits, but there is much more work to do,” Ducey said. “I want to thank the task force for their work, especially Senator Katie Hobbs who has championed this issue for years. My office will continue to work hand-in-hand with policy experts, law enforcement, and community leaders to protect our communities and provide victims with a much-needed sense of relief.”
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