TEMPE, AZ - The Tempe Police Department has been awarded a grant worth more than $360,000 to tackle a backlog of untested rape kits.
"We are looking at several hundred kits at least," Mike Pooley, a lieutenant with the Tempe Police Department, said.
There are rape kits stacked to the ceiling in evidence vaults around the state and Tempe is no exception. Detectives can only guess 500 or more kits deserve to be tested and reviewed.
"This is something we've been wanting to do for sometime, but obviously with funding we weren't able to do it," Pooley said.
Police say the backlogged kits have been in limbo, some even for years, but there are other reasons, besides money, for why the kits haven't been tested yet.
In some cases, the suspect was known and admitted to the crime, in others the victim didn't want to prosecute. However, some may have slipped through the cracks.
"We have really increased the resources in this area and I think if we can get caught up on these particular kits I think that will help us to stay caught up over time," Tempe City Councilman David Schapira said.
Tempe police have doubled the number of Special Victim Unit Detectives in the past five years.
The grant, if approved by the Tempe City Council, will go to a third party lab to begin testing the kits. Tempe police have sorted the kits and know which ones detectives want tested first.