On June 5, 2013, Colorado became the third state to enact legislation requiring the counting and testing of rape kits booked into evidence. The legislation included almost $7 million to clear the state's backlog. In 2012, a reporter had uncovered hundreds of untested kits at police departments in the Denver area alone. In the months following the law's enactment, police departments from across the state submitted inventories indicating a total of 6,283 previously untested kits. As of November 2013, 32 departments had yet to report their numbers.
More than one year after the passage of the law, testing is complete on approximately 300 previously untested kits. Among those kits, there have been 30 matches to known offenders in the national DNA database so far. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is prioritizing the testing of backlogged kits on which the 10-year statute of limitations has not yet expired.
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In addition to what we know about the backlog in Denver, there is also information about the backlog from other jurisdictions in the state.
After Colorado passed legislation requiring the counting and testing of rape kits booked into evidence, Aurora reported having 416 previously untested kits. Greeley reported having 366 previously untested kits. With 1,212 untested kits in its custody, Colorado Springs possessed nearly 20 percent of the state's total untested kits.
In June 2014, the Aurora Police Department announced comprehensive changes in its evidence retention and storage policies. A panel formed after the Department acknowledged it had destroyed evidence improperly in 48 sexual assault cases recommended the Department not destroy any evidence going forward, upgrade its storage facilities, restructure its property unit staff to include civilian staff members and increase training for property unit employees.
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