State police see hundreds more rape kits on top of current backlog
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The number of new rape kits submitted for testing in Oregon quadrupled in the past year.
Oregon State Police report a backlog of nearly 900 new kits, on top of more than a thousand already waiting to be tested.
Capt. Bill Fugate with state police says it's mainly because the state is still in an adjustment period after Melissa's Law passed last year.
It requires every rape kit be tested.
That means all of the kits that sat in local police offices for years suddenly went to state police for testing.
"I think Springfield had right around 60 or 70 cases that were backlogged that were submitted," Springfield Police Liutenant Scott Mckee said.
Now OSP is trying to keep up.
"Suddenly there was a large need to have all these kits tested. And Oregon State Police, we are the only crime laboratory that tests those kinds of kits in Oregon," Fugate said.
He says thankfully, with the new law came a new grant.
It includes $1.5 million for nine new crime lab analysts.
But right now, they're in training which takes at least a year.
"When those people are being trained, it takes an existing scientist off the work bench to train them so we were seeing a decrease in output of our products or our testing," Fugate said.
He says they should be done with training by the end of the year.