SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has made a pledge to process the city’s backlog of old rape kits by the end of the year.

Last week, Chief Suhr said the department didn’t have the resources to get it done, saying the crime lab was already “maxed out.”

“I don’t have the people to do those and the district attorney’s office doesn’t have scientists to do it either,” Suhr said last week.

But he tells the San Francisco Chronicle his staff has hand-counted the backlog, determining there are 437 rape kits from before 2003 to be tested. Most recent rape kits have already been processed.

Suhr said money is available in the department’s regular budget to cover the testing. “It is a priority for us,” Chief Suhr said last week when talking about the backlog.

Suhr told the newspaper he did “a bad job” explaining the situation last week and that he “cares about the issue.”

A rape kit is a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following an allegation of a sexual assault. That evidence can be used in a rape investigation.

San Francisco is one of several cities across the country facing a huge backlog of untested rape kits.

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