Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $793,372)
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors 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 Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 National SAKI Program will provide funds to recipients to implement or enhance the comprehensive BJA model to address the issues that underline the problem of unsubmitted SAKs or to expand their existing SAKI project to include the collection of lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders.
The city of Fayetteville is awarded an FY 2016 SAKI award under Purpose Area 1 to implement a complete victim-centered approach through the investigation, prosecution, and healing process for survivors. The city of Fayetteville received a 2015 SAKI award which funded DNA testing for approximately 120 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. An audit of current on site SAKs has revealed that, even after testing the abovementioned 120 sexual assault kits, The Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) has approximately 500 unsubmitted SAKs on hand.
The Fayetteville Police Department created a Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit in 2015 with a dedicated detective to investigate previously unsolved sexual assault cases, which has resulted in arrests in 13 cold cases. The FY 2015 SAKI project will lead to increased arrests and the FY 2016 project is expected to further advance Fayettevilles efforts in reducing the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs. This award will be used to create a triage system in order to prioritize the order in which the 500 unsubmitted SAKs will be sent for testing; complete work which was started under the FY 2015 SAKI award to convert older case files from microfilm to digital files; pay FPD Records Clerks overtime to place digital files into Laserfische archives; upgrade the FPDs Evidence Room in order to accommodate the increased SAKs; fund DNA analysis and expert testimony fees for the identified unsubmitted SAKs at the FPD; partner with the Spring Lake Police Department to help reduce their unsubmitted SAKs by funding DNA analysis and expert testimony fees; fund overtime costs for the Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit Detective and Special Victims Unit Detective to investigate CODIS hits; fund investigative and training, travel expenses; fund law enforcement training for all sworn officers on conducting victim-centered, trauma-informed sexual assault investigations; and fund a Cold Case Victim Advocate to provide counseling and advocacy.