Translate Our Site

Council President Lewis to Introduce Legislation That Will Address Root Cause of Rape Kit Backlog

Albuquerque City Council President Dan Lewis will introduce a priority objective resolution, R-16-140, within the Public Safety goal at Monday, December 5, 2016 City Council meeting that places a high priority on eliminating the backlog of unprocessed sexual assault evidence kits, and addresses the shortage of qualified technicians available to process the more than 3,900 sexual assault evidence kits currently in APD custody.

Under this resolution, the City will work with CNM to develop a scholarship program or other incentive for students who choose to become forensic technologists, to create a pipeline of qualified citizens to work in APD’s crime lab. This is a long-term solution, but one that will have the greatest local impact on what has become a nationwide problem. The resolution will also create a working group of victim advocates and law enforcement to help design immediate solutions to the City’s problem of evidence kits that have been collected but were never processed.

“It is absolutely critical to process this backlog of evidence,” Councilor Lewis said. “Survivors of sexual assault deserve to have their evidence processed. They deserve justice.”

He said the larger issue is a shortage of qualified technicians that can be hired to fill open positions in our crime labs, reducing labs’ capacity to process critical evidence. “This is not a problem that can be solved by funding alone,” he said. “This bill will address the current problem, and also plan for future Crime Lab staffing so that a backlog like this will not occur again.”

A 2015 Department of Public Safety survey found that, statewide, more than 5,000 sexual assault evidence kits – some dating back to the 1980's – have not been tested for a suspect’s DNA. According to End the Backlog, APD has 835 untested kits in its evidence locker.

Latest from Twitter
Contact Information

Rachel Miller

Policy Analyst

Albuquerque City Council

(505) 768-3189