Oklahoma audit finds nearly 7K untested rape kits
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Many Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have yet to comply with an executive order compelling them to audit their untested rape kits, 10 months after it was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin.
The 144 agencies that haven’t complied missed both an initial December deadline and a February extension set by Fallin, The Oklahoman reported.
Fallin signed an executive order in April creating a task force to determine the number of untested sexual assault forensic evidence kits in the state. According to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, the 275 agencies that complied as of Thursday reported nearly 7,000 untested kits.
Danielle Tudor is a rape survivor who is a member of the task force. She said there is no excuse for agencies that missed the deadline.
“Every single one of those law enforcement agencies needs to be called out and they need to respond as to why they did not take it seriously,” Tudor said. “For over 100 agencies in this state to send a message that it does not matter is unacceptable.”
The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force is planning to meet this week.
Andrea Swiech is the division director of criminalistics with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and a task force member. She said at the meeting the group will review responses it received and discuss how it can use that information to identify possible improvements.
“We’re just going to start chipping away at the executive order and what responsibilities were assigned to us,” Swiech said.
Deputy Chief Russ Landon of The Village Police Department said his department wasn’t clear on the deadline, but he said that’s not a valid excuse. He said his department respects the process and the work of the board.
“We take this seriously, and we know that we need to get on it and get some hard numbers,” Landon said.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com