More Oklahoma agencies comply with untested rape kit order
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A number of Oklahoma law enforcement agencies are complying with the governor’s order to report the number of their untested rape kits, but nearly 100 agencies have yet to report back.
The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force requested two weeks ago that the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association and the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police follow up with nearly 150 agencies that had not responded, The Oklahoman reported.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has tallied 7,172 kits by 290 agencies statewide eight weeks after an extended deadline expired. Task Force Chairwoman Melissa Blanton said those numbers will change as information is updated.
Blanton said the push has helped get more responses.
“We’ve had a large response within the last week, and we haven’t been able to input that data,” she said.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order last year creating a task force to determine the number of untested sexual assault forensic evidence kits in Oklahoma.
Michael McNutt, communications director for Fallin, said the governor’s office is analyzing the information compiled by the task force.
“The governor’s office will consider what action to take if noncompliant law enforcement agencies are to receive certain funds,” McNutt said. “The point is not to punish law enforcement agencies, but to ensure that the task force is given the adequate data to perform its function.”
Danielle Tudor is a rape survivor who is a member of the task force. She said ignoring Fallin’s order and repeated requests to comply is disrespectful to sexual assault victims.
“It told me that my rape kit doesn’t matter,” Tudor said. “It showed me the bias that’s there for this crime and for this evidence because we would never take a gun or a knife and put it on an evidence shelf and never do anything with it.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com