SPRINGFIELD — After years of having untested sexual assault kits piled up, the Springfield Police Department will soon have no more backlog.
Last year, the State of Missouri took inventory and found about 7,000 untested sexual assault kits statewide. 300 of those were at the Springfield Police Department, but it is an issue SPD has been working on for years.
Police Chief Paul Williams says last August, a grant helped them get that number down to 119.
“We’ve been working for five or six years now either with the crime lab the FBI had an initiative looking for grants to try and chip away at getting all of those tested, and it feels really good to be almost to the finish line,” says Williams.
The average cost to get even one kit tested is about $1,000, Williams estimates.
On Monday, Springfield City Council designated carryover money in the budget to help clear the rest of the untested kits out, and get them sent off to either the state crime lab, or a third party company used by the state.
“They voted and approved $120,000, and we’ll be able to test all 119 of those kits,” Williams says.
Executive Director of The Victim’s Center, Brandi Bartel, says getting this done could help repair trust between survivors and the justice system.
“Having that peace of mind going forward that all persons have been accounted for – all those kits have been accounted for and tested. It’s the right thing to do. I think this goes a long way in helping those individuals who might be grappling with that difficult decision on whether to report these types of crimes or not,” Bartel says.