100+ police departments clear backlog of untested, reported rape kits,

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EXCLUSIVE — More than 100 police departments in Missouri have cleared their backlogs of reported, untested sexual assault kits, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The office said Wednesday it had made “major strides” with its SAFE Kit Initiative, an effort by the attorney general to clear the entire backlog of untested kits in Missouri. In all, 115 police departments have cleared their backlogs of reported, untested kits and 2,745 kits have been sent to private labs for testing.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt called the new numbers “a huge step forward.”

“It takes immense courage for victims to step forward and submit a sexual assault kit,” Schmitt said. “It’s been my mission since launching the SAFE Kit Initiative to honor that courage and bravery by ensuring these kits get tested and that a backlog like this never happens again.”

A breakdown of departments that have sent off all of their reported, untested rape kits across Missouri:

14 police departments in mid-Missouri
58 in southwest Missouri
32 in southeast Missouri
5 in St. Louis County
4 in the Kansas City area

Last year, Springfield Police became the first major department in Missouri to send all of its untested, reported kits to be tested.

The Attorney General’s Office said it would continue to coordinate regional shipping events, aiding rural departments to send off kits.

A 2019 audit found more than 6,100 untested kits throughout Missouri. The state is utilizing multiple private labs in order to test the arsenal of kits.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.

Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.

She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.

Contact Kaitlyn at kaitlyn@themissouritimes.com.

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