Gov. Fallin Puts Pressure On Law Enforcement To Compile Rape Kit Data
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Governor is threatening to pull funding from police departments and sheriff's offices if they don't find out how many untested rape kits they have.
Governor Fallin ordered all departments to audit their evidence rooms by the end of the year, but about half of them did not meet the deadline.
The Tulsa police department is one of many agencies that did not get its audit done in time.
They estimate they have 6,000-7,000 rape kits in the property room, so it's going to take a lot of time and manpower to go through them all and see which ones were tested and which were not, but say they are working on it.
TPD said there are legitimate reasons not to test a kit. One is if the victim refuses to cooperate, so there's no way the case can go forward.
Another is if the victim knows the suspect or the suspect admits it's their DNA, then there's no need to prove identity.
TPD said if a victim has no idea who the rapist is and wants to see the case solved, those kits are tested and results are back in a few months.
"We are definitely testing kits on a regular basis," said Sergeant Jillian Phippen with TPD Sex Crimes.
The first step of the governor's sexual assault task force is to figure out how many untested kits we have in Oklahoma and the reasons they weren't tested.
Some argue, regardless of cost, every single kit should be tested and the DNA put into the database because it might identify a serial rapist or solve other crimes, but others disagree.
"Then there's the whole other side of that if the person never goes to trial and are truly innocent until proven guilty, then why should their DNA be in the database,” Phippen said.
Rape survivors want to make sure justice is the priority and that a lack of money is not a reason a rapist walks.
"This is a public safety issue and it affects primarily women and children. We need to get our act together," said rape survivor Danielle Tudor.
The new deadline for agencies to get in their numbers is February 15th.