"If we have a practice that's not the best model, we need to change that,'' said State Police Superintendent Richard Evans Jr."It's all about making sure we solve as many crimes as we can.'' A sexual assault kit can include blood, urine, hair, semen and other body secretion samples obtained from a detailed forensic examination.A work group of police, prosecutors and victim advocates will meet over the next several months to draft uniform guidelines that agencies can follow so the kits will no longer gather dust on evidence shelves.They acknowledge that not quickly testing kit evidence could hamper arresting and prosecuting offenders.After the exam, the evidence is stored in the kit, essentially a manila envelope.The evidence is intended to be analyzed at a crime lab and preserved to help identify a suspect and aid in criminal prosecution.
Most sexual assault detectives have had great latitude in deciding when to submit the kits for testing.
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"The real work will be prioritizing and following up on each case,'' Evans said.
"We're trying to come up with some best practices for future submission, so each agency has a resource manual and so we don't have this issue in the future.'' The Legislature this week approved money for two additional forensic scientists for the state lab to help address the stockpile.