Even after several articles published over the summer chastised the Los Angeles Police Department for its backlog of 7,000 unprocessed rape kits, the LAPD has allowed the prosecution deadline to lapse for 200 of those kits, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police Chief William Bratton tells the Times that his department needs more staff and at least $7 million to sort through the remaining backlog. "What happened here is there are not enough people in the crime lab to do the work," Bratton says. "We got the City Council to authorize 16 additional people, but they did not fund it."The LAPD has failed in another substantial way when it comes to rape kits: they did not comply with a state law that says victims must be notified if their rape kits are not processed within a 2-year window. If authorities had made those notifications, the Times reports, the statute of limitations would have been extended. However, this is not just a local problem. 169,000 rapes nationwide have untested DNA evidence. In an unsigned editorial, the Times places the blame at the feet of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has put what the paper feels is too much focus on getting more police officers on the street rather than attending to other vital police department needs, like rape kit examiners. "Hiring more officers remains a worthy goal, but it need not be done foolishly and with contempt for rape victims whose cases deserve attention," the editorial notes. "The City Council — and the LAPD — must make funding the necessary lab work a priority." Earlier this year, Chief Bratton turned to the LA Police Foundation to raise private funds for rape kit examination, and he's raised $1.5 million so far. The website for the Police Foundation with information on how to make a contribution is here. 200 Sex Assault Cases Pass Prosecution Deadline Before LAPD Tested DNA Kits [LA Times] The LAPD's 7,000 Victims Of Neglect [LA Times] Earlier: Meet Sarah Tofte: Death Penalty Researcher Turned Rape Kit Activist Crime And No Punishment
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What they need to do is get rid of the statute of limitations. It's stupid that if you get away with it for just long enough, then you get away with it permanently, especially if there's DNA evidence that you did it.