- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on New Mexico’s backlog of untested evidence kits from rapes and other sexual assaults (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

Law enforcement officers across New Mexico will soon be required to undergo training on how to use evidence kits in rapes and other sexual assault cases and how to apply DNA findings to their investigations.

Officials with the state Department of Public Safety and victim advocacy groups announced the new training Tuesday. It will start in January for officers who are certified in New Mexico and will be a part of the law enforcement academy’s curriculum going forward.

The announcement comes as the state grapples with a backlog of thousands of untested evidence kits.

State Auditor Tim Keller’s office spent the past year querying law enforcement agencies around the state about their policies for handling the kits.

The resulting audit found that a lack of resources, training and attitudes about the credibility of victims are partly to blame for kits going untested.

___

9 a.m.

A lack of human and financial resources is partly to blame for New Mexico’s backlog of more than 5,400 untested evidence kits from rapes and other sexual assaults.

State Auditor Tim Keller has released the findings from a special review aimed at identifying practices that led to the untested kits languishing in evidence vaults around the state.

Albuquerque’s crime lab still carries the bulk of the backlog, with about 73 percent of the untested kits.

Some kits from elsewhere have been forwarded to the state crime lab, where they still await testing.

Keller says the audit’s findings provide a roadmap to clear the existing backlog and ensure it never happens again.

He says it comes down to setting priorities, funding and overcoming troubling attitudes about victims of sexual assault.


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