MPD: Grant needed to screen 2,000 sexual assault kits | News
MEMPHIS, TN- (WMC-TV) - A backlog of untested sexual assault kits has created a push to get thousands tested in hope of resolving some of cases that have been inactive for years.
Director Toney Armstrong says many of these untested rape kits go back as far as the 80s. The dormant kits remain in three different locations inside the Memphis Police Department.
Armstrong says he plans to ask city council for a $500,000 grant from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs Tuesday to fund the project.
"I can't account for what went on with past administrations, but what I can say is this administration has recognized that there is a problem ... All of the departments have come together and put together a comprehensive plan," said Armstrong.
Armstrong's administration has worked since 2011 to resolve the issue of these untested sexual assault kits. In recent months, TBI, under the leadership of Director Mark Gwyn, and the District Attorney General's Office, headed by General Amy Weirich, have joined the Memphis Police Department in developing a plan of action.
This grant would allow the department to screen 2,226 kits.
Memphis area Women's Council Executive Director, Deborah Clubb, says the number of sexual assault cases in Memphis is staggering.
"I've heard other numbers. I don't think this is all of it ... I think this is a good start," she said. "Women go to report a rape, and they're asked for the opportunity to have a rape kit done because they're told that's evidence that's important ... I think it's beyond disheartening to then hear in our community so many overall these years were not processed."
Armstrong says this has been an ongoing problem for many years. Mayor A C Wharton says this grant is just the beginning.
'We can't go back and find some bad person who five years ago we can only speak from going forward," said Wharton.
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