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FDLE: Florida So Far On Track To Take Care Of Untested Rape Kit Backlog

FDLE Presentation

The agency responsible for taking care of the state’s thousands of untested rape kits says the DNA evidence testing in its labs is going well so far.

Last year, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an assessmentof the state’s more than 13,000 untested rape kits. Local law enforcement classified 8,600 as the backlog. Dave Coffman is the FDLE’s director of Forensics Services.

“So, I am pleased to report we are on schedule for our first year of getting these rape kits done,” he said, during an update to lawmakers Wednesday. “Our goal was to try to have 2,880 done every year to try and get that 8,600 down.”

Coffman says a new law has been a big help. It requires evidence be submitted within 30 days and tested within four months.

“The average length of time to the lab from the offense date to the time the agency submits to the lab is an average of 17 days,” he added. “So, we have seen not only an improvement in the time that law enforcement get those kits to us, we’re also seeing more kits are being submitted in a timely manner.”

He says since the new law, labs have experienced a 60 percent increase in submitted rape kits from the same time last year.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.