Utah police can start sending untested rape kits to crime labs

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SALT LAKE CITY — Beginning Wednesday, police agencies around Utah can begin submitting thousands of untested sexual assault kits to the state crime lab.

Earlier this year, a survey revealed an estimated 2,700 untested and unsubmitted rape kits are spread across the state, prompting review by police departments and city leadership.

In Salt Lake City, 625 kits remained untested dating back to 2004 after the Utah Legislature passed a bill requiring law enforcement to communicate the status of sexual assault investigations to victims.

The Utah Department of Public Safety has appropriated $750,000 in one-time funding to the state crime lab to assist with processing unreviewed tests. DPS will also assist police agencies in participating with a National Institute of Justice and FBI initiative providing analysis for untested kits, according to a news release Tuesday.

As with all eligible DNA profiles, Utah's crime lab will submit results from positive tests to the FBI's national Combined DNA Indexing System, or CODIS, the release states. CODIS includes DNA profiles from crime scene samples, offender samples from anyone in Utah convicted of a class A misdemeanor or higher or arrested for a felony offense, as well as available missing person samples.

Police may opt not to submit sexual assault kits to be tested for a number of reasons, according to the release, but the statewide survey and subsequent recommendations have prompted their review, according to the release.


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McKenzie Romero


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