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New Orleans Police Department Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

Award Information

Award #
2015-AK-BX-K013
Location
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2015
Total funding (to date)
$2,365,004

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,058,214)

The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutor’s offices to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions’ approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) - i.e. those SAKs that have never been submitted to a crime laboratory.

The goal of the SAKI is the creation of a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to these cases whenever possible through a victim-centered approach, as well as to build jurisdictions’ capacity to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. The holistic program provides jurisdictions with resources to address their unsubmitted SAK issue, including support to inventory, test, and track SAKs; create and report performance metrics; access necessary training to increase effectiveness in addressing the complex issues associated with these cases and engage in multidisciplinary policy development, implementation, and coordination; and improve practices related to investigation, prosecution, and victim engagement and support in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process.

The city of New Orleans will use this 2015 SAKI award to address the untested SAKs and the overarching issues that allow the number of untested SAKs to grow. The New Orleans Police Department will strengthen its collaborations through the New Orleans Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); inventory the number of un-submitted SAKs in the jurisdiction and submit for testing; upgrade its evidence tracking system; and analyze and develop new policies, procedures and protocols for SAK submissions/tracking, investigations and prosecutions. Policies, protocols and procedures will be formulated and codified to prevent the growing numbers of un-submitted SAKs that hinders the criminal justice system’s ability to identify suspects in a timely manner, conduct thorough investigations and prosecute sexual assault cases. BJA SAKI funds will be used to hire a Site Coordinator to oversee and manage all aspects of the project including the formation of a working group comprised of members of the New Orleans SART, conduct and certify its SAK inventory; hire a Justice Advocate to be embedded within the Sex Crimes Unit to provide victim advocacy and counseling services; partially fund a SAK hot-line; and hire civilian personnel to assist with DNA transfers to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and tracking of DNA hits.

CA/NCF

Date Created: September 10, 2015