Mayor Keller signs executive order to help clear city’s rape kit backlog

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is taking action with hopes of clearing the city’s backlog of untested rape kits.

As state auditor, Keller found there were more than 5,000 untested evidence kits from sexual assaults in New Mexico. Seventy-five percent of the untested kits were in an Albuquerque crime lab.

Wednesday, the mayor signed an executive order to speed up the process of fixing the backlog.

The Albuquerque Police Department and the city’s Sexual Assault Evidence Response Team will develop a plan to address the issue and make sure another backlog doesn’t happen again.

The plan is due to the mayor by March 15.

“We are not here to solve every single problem in the state and the country. What we are here to do is address the problems we can fix on our own, the rape kit backlog in Albuquerque is a perfect example of that,” Mayor Keller said.

Keller also says clearing the backlog could cost around $4 million. The plan will involve determining the exact cost along with finding vendors and federal grants to help pay for it.

The untested kits include cases where the victims didn’t want to prosecute or the DNA evidence was not needed. Many argue the DNA needs to be entered from every kit into a national database to solve other crimes or link suspects to more than one victim.

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