Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,125,606)
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 Charlotte is awarded an FY 2016 SAKI award to sustain and expand its current "fork lift" approach to testing all Sexual Assault Kits (SA Ks) which enter into the system. In 2015, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) received grant funding from the New York District Attorney's Office to test 885 of its inventoried backlogged Sexual Assault Kits from years 2003-2013. However, after further inventory has been conducted of years prior to 2003, and after 2013, it has been found that an additional 246 inventoried kits remain untested. In an effort to reduce the number of backlogged SAKs in the CMPD inventory, the department proposes to: outsource the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs to a private lab for testing; hire one full-time Criminalist to process cases that receive HITS from testing; hire two part-time retired police officers to work follow-up investigations on cases that receive HITS from testing; hire one full-time Sexual Assault Advocate to provide resources and counseling to individuals that are victims of Sexual Assault; hire one full-time Site Coordinator to be the contact point of the SAK working group, track SAKs from hospitals, and train nurses at local hospitals with regards to proper collection methods of DNA samples for Sexual Assault cases; and update its current technology so that more transparency with tracking the status of SAKs is available and having the ability to link previously unknown offenders.