State Auditor prepares for work on clearing rape kit backlog

New Mexico’s State Auditor is gearing up for the next step in clearing the backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits, or rape kits, throughout the state. State Auditor Tim Keller announced Thursday his office will conduct a statewide survey of law enforcement agencies and an audit of eight police agencies to get an idea of how rape kits are tested. “We are working with law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to shine a light on what changes are needed to eliminate the backlog and keep it from happening again,” Keller said in a statement. Last year Keller’s office found that there were over 5,000 untested evidence kits around the state. A majority of these were within the Albuquerque Police Department.

State Auditor announces actual number of backlogged rape kits

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller announced on Friday morning that his office determined how many rape kits that are sitting untested around the state. In a press release, Keller said his office worked with the Department of Public Safety in concluding there are 5,406 untested Sexual Assault Evidence kits in New Mexico. “Bringing transparency to the backlog is a first step towards fixing this issue, which is critical to survivors and our public safety,” Keller said. Keller’s office said they worked with DPS in retrieving numbers from each respective law enforcement agencies in New Mexico. DPS requested the numbers and the Auditor’s office followed up with those agencies that did not respond.

More money, resources need for rape kit backlog

More money was the common solution given to an interim legislative committee on Monday. The legislative Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee asked a panel of experts including the New Mexico State Auditor and the Department of Public Safety Secretary how the state can reduce the number of rape kits that are currently sitting untested in labs. John Krebsbach, a lab director of  the Albuquerque Police Department, told the committee he could sum up the solution to backlogged kits in one word. “Money,” Krebsbach said. There are more than 5,000 untested rape kits in the state.