The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is getting a $837,342 grant to test old sexual assault kits and to hire staff for the department’s crime lab and cold case unit.
The grant, from the U.S. Department of Justice, will let CMPD examine about 600 kits that have been partially tested and another 211 kits that haven’t been examined yet.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts said CMPD could be “caught up” by February, with all kits in its possession tested.
“We are working very hard to reduce the number of rape kits that haven’t been tested,” she said. “There are 211 sexual assault kits haven’t been tested. These grants will help us reduce this backlog.
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The grant will also allow CMPD to buy two new laptops for sexual assault detectives and hire one part-time former assistant district attorney for research.
CMPD has struggled in the past with testing and accounting for kits.
The Observer wrote last year that CMPD had destroyed about 1,000 sexual assault kits since 2000. The department said those cases had been investigated, but that the un-analyzed kits were destroyed after victims withdrew their complaints, the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute or a suspect was arrested.
Council members also approved a $331,000 grant from the Justice Department to continue funding four existing criminal DNA analysts positions.