(WDVM/AP) — More than $6 million in federal and state funds are expected to help police departments in Maryland test rape kits.
Maryland has a backlog of untested kits. Ten of the state’s largest police departments in 2018 reported having more than 6,500.
This kit typically contains bags and paper sheets, a comb, documentation forms, envelopes, instructions, materials for blood samples, and swabs. Law officials say these test are essential to cases of this nature because the kit preserves evidence.
“I’ve never seen the defense able to refute the evidence that is given in court and testimony given in court given by forensic nurses in reference to a safe exam,” said Sgt. Andrew Alcorn of the Frederick Police Department. “It’s almost too, it’s concrete evidence that it occurred.”
A state law that goes into effect Jan. 1 requires authorities to quickly send most kits for forensic analysis unless the victim opposes.
Under a 2017 law, departments now must keep kits for two decades. Testing a kit on average costs $1,000 to $1,500.