San Francisco District Attorney, Police Chief at Odds Over Untested Rape Kits - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco District Attorney, Police Chief at Odds Over Untested Rape Kits

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    San Francisco's district attorney and police chief are at odds over untested rape kits. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Thursday, June 4, 2015)

    San Francisco's district attorney and police chief are at odds over untested rape kids.

    District Attorney George Gascon wanted to apply for grants to test rape kids that have been sitting in storage for a dozen years. Officials said there are an estimated 1,100 kits. Gascon points to a pair of grants the city could have applied for that had the potential to pay for clearing up the backlog of kits.

    Grant applications for clearing out rape kids needed to have the police department on board, which SFPD Chief Greg Suhr did not sign off on.

    San Francisco's crime lab is run by the police department. Suhr said the crime lab was not ready to look at the backlog of rape kits.

    "First of all we spent an ocean of general fund money and resources last year to clear our backlog within the statue of limitations," Suhr said.

    The crime lab is already undergoing an audit after a lab tech and supervisor failed a DNA proficiency exam, Suhr said.

    Suhr added his department is one of the few without a current backlog and it did not make sense to devote limited resources to investigating crimes that could not be prosecuted.

    "It's a resource issue," Suhr said. "It's a timing issue."

    But Gascon does not see it that way.

    "Even in cases where you may have a statute issue, where maybe the statute has expired, you can still connect that individual to another case if they've raped other women," Gascon said. "And then you have the issue of closure."

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