Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $442,908)
The North Dakota Office of Attorney General, Crime Laboratory Division (NDOAG-CLD) has identified systemic issues in establishing and maintaining accountability with the storage, tracking, and movement of sexual assault kit evidence in North Dakota.
The NDOAG-CLD provides North Dakota health care facilities with Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) and Forensic Medical Examination (FME) Reimbursement Forms as requested via online ordering (NDOAG website) or direct contact with the CLD. Counting distributed SAKs manually is no longer possible, leaving NDOAG with no accurate way to determine the number of SAKs given to health care facilities, and no accountability regarding the movement of SAKs.
The NDOAG-CLD proposed project will include purchasing hardware and software to track SAKs from the time a SAK is distributed by the CLD to the time the case receives final disposition in court. The project will also include a temporary, part-time CLD employee to directly inventory and track SAKs as well as pay overtime for existing employees to assist in the inventory of SAKs that are currently in the possession of law enforcement agencies and health care facilities.
Implementation of a sexual assault kit tracking and management system will allow NDOAG to report metrics to provide the public and criminal justice stakeholders with the status and location of evidentiary and untested/un-submitted SAKs, thus providing transparency, improving communication amongst the stakeholders, and assisting in the elimination of future backlog of untested SAKs.