Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $2,500,000)
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), on behalf of the State of Oklahoma, requests funding under the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant to further test and track unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) including the possibility of re-opening cases for prosecution while continuing to improve the response to sexual assault crimes through the implementation of uniform policies and promotion of best practices statewide. With funding through this project, the OSBI will stand up a unit consisting of an Investigative Supervisor, two Investigators, a Criminal Analyst and a Physical Evidence Technician to focus specifically on investigating the sexual assaults identified through the BJA certified inventory. This funding request also includes travel for the annual SAKI grantee meeting, travel for investigative purposes, five computer workstations as well as three desks and three office chairs. This unit will utilize the resources already within the OSBI to provide assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors in the State of Oklahoma.
Since 2017, the State of Oklahoma has made great strides in addressing the problem of untested kits in our state and increasing services and resources to survivors. An inventory of untested and partially tested was completed and certified in October 2020; analysis of these kits has started; a state-wide tracking system for sexual assault kits has been implemented; laws have been passed requiring all sexual assault kits be submitted to a forensic laboratory within twenty days of receipt, except for anonymous kits or kits where the victim specifically requests their kit not be tested; and all sexual assault kits must be maintained and stored by law enforcement for 50 years. The activities of this grant project will keep momentum moving forward for the State of Oklahoma by providing resources to complete analysis of the remaining SAKs on the certified inventory in a more expeditious manner, to have investigators available as needed to address sexual assault investigations and prosecutions arising from the analysis of evidence, and to strengthen our existing collaborative response by working with established partners. The OSBI understands the importance of these cases and will allocate resources to ensure this new unit is outfitted with vehicles, office space, training, and other supplies as needed. In addition, the OSBI will provide two Victim Advocates to focus on a coordinated, victim-centered approach across all jurisdictions in the state. Together, this will lead to justice for the survivors of sexual assault in resolution of their cases.