The Tulsa Police Department received a $1.5 million grant to test untested rape kits.
While no victims are waiting on test results for current cases, many people believe testing the old kits might solve other crimes. The grant will help get 750 kits off the shelves and into the hands of trained investigators and researchers.
In 1979, when Danielle Tudor was a high school senior living in Portland, a stranger broke into her home and raped her. She now dedicates her time to others who have survived.
"I love that Tulsa is being the leader, and I am so thankful to Chief [Chuck] Jordan and to Sergeant [Jillian] Phippen, who have both dedicated their time and efforts to really see this through," Tudor said.
Sergeant Jillian Phippen applied for the grant for a second time after being denied in 2017, but this time the department got the stamp of approval.
"I just kind of screamed and was so excited because it was a big deal for me and the department to try and get that," Phippen said.
She said the $1.5 million grant will help them fund new investigators in the detective division and district attorney’s office, along with a graduate student for research at TU. And, the money will fund the testing of about 750 rape kits.
"This grant really lets us take that step backward and start over on some of those cases we weren't able to test, or we chose not to test because of the criteria involved," Phippen said.
That criteria includes a victim not wanting to cooperate, or when they know who a suspect is, so the DNA wasn’t needed for prosecution.
"Being able to go back and look at those, and work with advocates and re-engage with our victims will really prove to them they're not dismissed and not unheard, that they are important, and we do want to continue with their cases," Phippen said.
You can reapply for the grant every three years and the Tulsa Police Department says it intends to do that.