The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced an important milestone in its Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program on Tuesday. That was completing a statewide inventory of all previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Kansas.
“The purpose of conducting a statewide inventory was really to allow us to quantify the number of unsubmitted sexual assault kits that exist in city and county law enforcement property rooms,” said KBI executive officer Katie Whisman. “We can begin the process of eliminating that inventory through laboratory analysis.”
The goal is to test all the unsubmitted kits at some point in the future.
“By testing sexual assault kits, we have the opportunity to identify the offenders,” said Whisman. “Quite often, other states that are doing similar projects are finding that they are identifying serial sexual offenders by testing previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.”
The progress in this area has taken some time.
“The KBI began proactively evaluating the issue of unsubmitted sexual assault kits in the fall of 2014,” said Whisman. “One of the first things that we did was begin the process of surveying the Kansas law enforcement community. It has taken quite a bit of time to get to this point. It’s been a very long and involved process. Responding was easier for some agencies than others. A lot of that deals with their evidence management capabilities and staffing levels.”
Federal grant funding has been made available so that these unsubmitted kits can be analyzed without negatively impacting ongoing cases.