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Request of grant funding for the purpose of starting a Cold Case Investigations unit within the Anoka County Sheriff's Office. This is under the new purpose area (purpose area 6) for the SAKI Grant.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,150,000)



The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) is a sub-awardee and pilot agency for three Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grants[1] tasked with completing the testing of the untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) identified in a 2015 statewide survey of untested SAKs by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). That survey revealed that there were 3,482 untested SAKs in Minnesota, with two jurisdictions showing among the highest, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office with 495, and the City of Duluth (another current SAKI grantee). With testing and follow-up investigations winding down, and the end of the current SAKI grant for Anoka County as of 9/30/2023, The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is submitting application for the 2023 SAKI solicitation under the new purpose area 6, The National Cold Case Initiative (NCCI).

Through the work conducted by the ACSO on the SAKI grant, it was recognized that there was a need for further investigation on cold cases outside of the original scope of SAKI work. These cases include all violent crime including unsolved Homicides, Sexual Assaults (non-SAKI), Missing Persons, Robberies, violent Burglaries and Terroristic Threats. It is also recognized that violent criminals do not solely commit sexual assaults, and continued investigations of all violent crime could help solve cases across the board. The ACSO does not currently have a cold case unit, and cases are assigned to detectives that carry a current case load when new information comes in on old cases. This has proved ineffective as current cases will almost always take priority and cold cases will not be focused on. It also does not provide the opportunity to review old cases unless new information comes to light.

The ACSO has identified 29 unsolved homicides dating back to 1965. Many of these older cold cases have never been re-evaluated since the initial investigation and would benefit from evidence evaluation and testing. Although Cold Case Homicides are easily inventoried within the ACSO, other violent crime cold cases have not been as well memorialized. A review of other violent crimes from April 2015 to May 2021 revealed 55 unsolved cases that could benefit from a cold case investigation.

Through this grant proposal, the ACSO seeks to: Complete a full inventory of all violent crime cold cases within the ACSO, develop cold case investigation protocols and procedures, evaluate and prioritize all cold cases, evaluate evidence and test, or re-test, to further the investigation, hold offenders accountable, and maintain an MDT to assist cold case investigations and support victims/families.

The applicant for this grant is the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, with the BCA, Alexandra House, and the Anoka County Attorney’s Office being committed MDT members.


[1] Grant numbers 2018-AK-BX-0019, 2019-AK-BX-0018 and 2020-AK-BX-0008

Date Created: September 25, 2023