OAKLAND (KCBS)— Alameda County’s District Attorney is now working with the FBI on a pilot project to process and review DNA rape kits more rapidly. With the help of private labs, the goal is to reduce the backlog of kits in police crime labs.
South Bay Congressman Mike Honda (D-San Jose) joined Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley for a rare East Bay appearance Tuesday to talk about his action on this issue as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Honda helped to secure more than $40 million dollars to reduce a backlog of DNA rape kits nationwide. He said private labs are assisting government labs to reduce the backlog.
“Rapid DNA technology would allow local police stations to run uncomplicated DNA samples quickly and reliably, thereby freeing up government labs, time and resources to focus on rape kits,” He said.
D.A. O’Malley said the Alameda County has launched the Eliminate the Backlog project that will target nearly 2,000 rape kits that are sitting in evidence rooms. Aside from the FBI’s help, her office is currently working with a private lab in Virginia to test rape kits.
“We’re very grateful that the FBI has agreed to do a pilot project with Alameda County and we are now working out the details of what that project will look like,” she said.
She says Assembly Bill 1517 will complement those efforts by setting specific timelines for law enforcement to send rape kits to labs and have them processed for possibly entry into the Combined DNA Index System also known as CODIS; the national database.
Nationwide they estimated 400,000 to 500,000 DNA rape kits are sitting untested in evidence rooms.