SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Senate has approved guidelines to ensure DNA evidence kits from sexual assaults are processed quickly and don’t languish in storage.
The Senate voted Tuesday to require that local law enforcement send sexual assault test kits for processing within 30 days.
New Mexico law enforcement agencies have been grappling with a backlog of thousands of untested evidence kits.
The bill now moves to the House, where a related bill would ensure sexual assault victims can track the status of sexual assault kits and any DNA profile of an assailant that emerges.
State Auditor Tim Keller’s office spent the past year querying law enforcement agencies about their policies for handling the kits and found a lack of resources, training and unhelpful attitudes about the credibility of victims.