NAMPA (AP)• The Nampa Police Department plans to change the way it handles sexual assault kits in the wake of concerns over low testing rates.
Nampa detectives will now ask all victims if they want their kit tested, instead of working with victims on whether they want to prosecute and create large backlogs, The Idaho Press-Tribune reports.
In Idaho, law enforcement agencies are in charge of determining if a kit should be tested. Kits are not submitted for testing in a victim decides he or she does not want it tested.
Earlier this month, the Press-Tribune reported that the Nampa Police Department has collected more than 100 rape kits since 2010, but only 12 have been sent to the lab.
After going through files, the newspaper found that of the untested kits, 26 were not submitted at the victim’s request, 27 of the cases did result in an arrest despite the kit not being tested, 16 are being sent back to detectives for review of the case, 7 kits were not tested because police could not determine if the sex was consensual, 5 were from another agency’s investigation, 8 are from active cases, 8 cases had prosecution declined, 7 victims recanted their story or were untruthful and 1 case was unfounded due to a medical issue.
Nampa Police Chief Craig Kingsbury said they now plan to submit some of those kits after further review.
Rape kits contain samples of semen, saliva or blood taken from a victim during a lengthy and invasive examination. Specimens containing DNA evidence are uploaded to a national database to check for a match.
Those who support sexual assault victims argue that every kit should be tested. However, some officers and lawmakers counter that law enforcement agencies should be able to use their own judgment.