APD’s pledge to clear rape kit backlog a ‘great first step’

Written by Kelly White

UPDATE: On Sept. 12, Chief Acevedo announced that he would find funding within the existing fiscal year’s budget to fund the analysis of the current backlogged sexual assault related cases—and any incurred during the closure of APD’s DNA lab—while the lab remains closed.

On Sept. 14,  the Austin City Council passed the 2017 budget, which included $1.4 million in the general fund intended to pay for seven additional analysts and one additional supervisor, per PS1.04. 

This is a huge win for survivors of sexual assault and for the advocates and citizens who fought to get these funds in the budget. Your advocacy and your support for The SAFE Alliance is a critical part of this victory. You can help us continue to fight for justice for survivors of sexual assault by making a gift today.

The SAFE Alliance appreciates yesterday’s statement by the Austin Police Department that they will find the money within its existing budget to resolve the sexual assault kit backlog. Advocates and survivors who raised this issue in recent days should be proud that they’ve made their voices heard.

APD’s commitment is a great first step and our focus now is on the city council taking the steps necessary to ensure APD’s DNA lab is staffed commensurate with the need for timely testing of sexual assault kits and other DNA evidence so we don’t end up with a new backlog. That means that the amendment to the city budget to fully staff the lab, PS1.04, must pass when considered by the council this week.

Thank you to Police Chief Acevedo for his commitment to clear up the backlog. It is a critical first step. And we continue to advocate that the Austin City Council provide funds per PS1.04 and ensure that our City is able to provide the appropriate response from the moment the crime is committed to prosecution and healing for the survivors.

Click the button below to sign SAFE’s petition to the council to fully fund APD’s DNA lab.

Council will be voting on a city budget today and tomorrow. SAFE will continue to update council members with signatures in support of these vitally important measures.

For additional ways to contact your council member, click here: Tell you council member: reopen APD’s DNA lab