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State Police Vow To Eliminate Rape Kit Backlog

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Crime Lab

The Illinois State Police Crime Lab plans to eliminate its rape kit backlog. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – The Illinois State Police Crime Lab is promising to examine each and every rape kit that has gone unexamined because police departments merely put them in storage.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the Crime Lab plans to eliminate the backlog in rape kit testing by 2015.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The Chicago Tribune says there are more than 4,000 of those kits with evidence from rape victims that have been put on shelves by police departments all over the state, and were not sent to the Crime Lab for examination.

The oldest of those untested rape kits goes back to 1978.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told CBS 2 Friday morning that a brain drain of scientists at law enforcement agencies is partially to blame for the problem.

“An ongoing problem they’ve had – I’ll be honest with you – is that a lot of people that get trained in not just this state, but around the country – they get gobbled up by the private industry because it’s such a developing area, and so you train the folks, you get them on there, then they’re with you for a few years and off they go,” Dart said, “so there’s this big lag in having the people you need to do the analysis.”

The lack of scientists to test the rape kits causes law enforcement “immeasurable” problems, Dart said.

The Crime Lab report lists the police departments with the greatest numbers of untested rape kits as Springfield, Rockford, Decatur, Chicago Heights and Elgin.

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