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LAPD clears huge backlog of DNA rape kits

April 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two and a half years ago, the LAPD started to aggressively tackle a huge backlog of DNA evidence kits. Wednesday morning officials announced everything has been processed.

"What started out as a backlog of 6,132 untested kits, a shocking number by anyone's standards, has been reduced to zero," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a news conference.

The backlog of DNA rape kits was first discovered in 2008. An audit revealed that thousands of sexual assault evidence kits had been left sitting, never analyzed or entered in the database.

Victim-advocacy groups demanded justice, wanting closure on cold cases.

The city soon announced added additional staff to LAPD Scientific Investigation Division and increased funding to outsource the testing of the kits.

The LAPD began monthly progress reports to increase accountability, and the efforts have paid off.

"I think that this is one of those great Los Angeles stories that shows that investment and effort, when you put it toward public safety, reaps huge dividends. It proves what this city can do," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

The announcement coincides with National Denim Day, a day that encourages people to wear jeans in support of sexual assault victims. Many officials at the news conference were seen wearing jeans.

Advocates at the press conference said the announcement is a step in the right direction.

"We've been working on this issue for over seven years," said Darcy Pollan of Peace Over Violence.

The city said it fully intends to keep current staffing numbers high with its scientific investigation division, and said the city is committed to never having any type of backlog with DNA evidence kits.