Charlotte is one of the cities where we are using public records requests to uncover the number of untested rape kits in police storage. Through our efforts, we have learned that, as of November 2014, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) has a backlog of 1,019 untested kits. To learn more about our process, click here.
In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office awarded the CMPD $557,974 in funding to test 885 rape kits. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the City of Charlotte $1,125,606 to process 300 previously untested kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.
Right now, we do not know the full extent of the national rape kit backlog because few states require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits. The Accountability Project aims to bring greater transparency and accountability to rape kit testing practices across the country.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is the only North Carolina police department with its own crime lab. In 2012, the Department's Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit, which launched in 2006, received a $500,000 federal grant. The Department uses this funding to staff five positions, including a DNA analyst and prosecutor, which will help to clear approximately 2,000 cases. A previous grant allowed the Department to clear 120 cases, resulting in 27 convictions and 41 arrests.
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