City of Albuquerque says it’s closer to solving more cases relating to APD’s rape kit backlog

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  After the Albuquerque Police Department cleared its rape kit backlog, the city announced it is closer to solving many of those cases. City leaders gave an update on Friday. Mayor Tim Keller called it a difficult celebration. Keller says every last rape kit has been submitted for testing.

For years, more than 5,000 rape kits were just sitting on shelves in evidence storage, some dating back to the 1980s. Some of the kits involved minors who were allegedly raped but their kits were never tested and nothing happened with their case. All of those kits have now been tested. APD says of the reviewed cases, more than 3,100 DNA profiles were generated. About 1,300 were eligible to be entered into CODIS, the FBI’s DNA database.

As of today, there have been 518 CODIS hits, about 47% of the profiles entered. Those results have now been passed on to detectives.

“Our sex crime unit, those are the detectives and the supervisors and support staff that has been tasked with this backlog to cover all these issues with reaching out to our victims to make sure they are not continuing to be not heard. That they can get a voice to justice and to try to get our cases prosecuted,” said Lt. Nicholas Sanders, APD Special Victims Unit.

What caused the backlog? The police chief blames not having enough funding, and the mayor also added people failed to take some of the victims seriously. Cheif Harold Medina says police are moving forward from how things were done in the past, and have put the appropriate procedures in place so as to never see a backlog like this again.

The DNA unit has increased staffing and introduced more technology. They now complete DNA cases in 40 days and currently there is no backlog.

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