TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Sex Crimes Unit at the Tulsa Police Department says the department likely won’t meet Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s extended deadline to compile an audit of untested rape kits.
Sgt. Jillian Phippen told the Tulsa World that the state isn’t offering funding to carry out the audit and that the department doesn’t have the manpower to complete it in the allotted time frame.
Phippen said there are 5,000 to 6,000 sexual assault cases with rape kits dating back to the 1980s. She said some kits aren’t in the department’s database and must be physically reviewed and manually entered.
The governor issued an executive order in April with a Dec. 30 deadline for the state’s police departments to audit their evidence rooms for untested rape kits. Fallin has extended the deadline to Feb. 15.
Phippen said that Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan authorized overtime for civilian employees to assist in finishing the audit after Fallin issued a warning Thursday.
Fallin said that the agencies not in compliance by the deadline will risk losing federal grant money administered by the state.
“Gathering this information is an important first step in bringing justice to sexual assault survivors whose cases have been delayed for years,” Fallin said in a statement. “Law enforcement agencies need to account for untested kits in their custody so that communities can begin to take steps to hold offenders accountable.”
In a news release Thursday, Fallin’s office said that about 60 percent of the sheriff’s offices and less than half of the police departments across the state have responded.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com
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