Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt along with Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland say a second batch of untested sexual assaults in the SAFE Kits Initiative Inventory had been sent to a private lab.
11 police departments and sheriff’s offices submitted kits, including Neosho, Carthage, Jasper County, Newton County and more.
“Working with our law enforcement partners across the state to gather these untested sexual assault kits and get them to the lab to be tested as efficiently as possible is crucial to the success of the SAFE Kits Initiative and will potentially help in bringing offenders to justice in the future. Chief Rowland and the Joplin Police Department have been a tremendous help in gathering these kits from neighboring departments and sending them to the lab for testing,” said Attorney General Schmitt.
“The Joplin Police Department has partnered with the Attorney General’s Office in an effort to reduce the number of untested sexual assault kits held by area departments. Our department has volunteered to serve as a hub for the collection and testing of our, and other agencies kits. We have worked closely with the AG’s office for the past several months in accomplishing this,” said Joplin Police Department Chief Rowland.
The SAFE Kits Initiative is using a private lab to ensure that kits are tested expeditiously and to not overwhelm the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab with a large influx of kits.
The SAFE Kits Initiative, funded by a grant administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, was launched by Attorney General Schmitt in January of 2019 to inventory all untested sexual assault kits in the backlog, create an electronic tracking system, and send those identified kits to a lab for forensic testing and potentially eventual prosecution.