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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2020
On Friday, May 15, the Springfield Police Department sent 30 sexual assault kits (SAK) to BODE, the private lab contracted through the SAKI grant administered by the Missouri Attorney General’s office to address the backlog of untested SAKs. A representative from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s SAFE Kit Initiative was at SPD headquarters to oversee the packaging and delivery of the SAKs to the lab.
As part of this initiative, SPD has been able to send 62 SAKs to BODE for testing, reducing the number of backlogged SAKs held by SPD to 169.
This effort comes as a result of a project created by the Attorney General’s SAFE Kit Initiative working group. Last year Attorney General Eric Schmitt visited law enforcement agencies and hospitals around the state and observed the policies and practices in place for the collection and storage of SAKs. After follow-up visits and observation by the chair of the working group, Judge M. Keithley Williams, SPD was selected as the agency to pilot the process to submit SAKs to BODE in December 2019. Since that time the process has been replicated across the state of Missouri.
As part of the pilot project, 30 SAKs were selected and sent to BODE for testing in Dec. 2019. SPD was able to send two additional SAKs in January of this year. We are now awaiting the test results to determine the next steps in the related investigations.
SPD Chief Paul Williams serves as the police representative on the AG’s Working Group. “ We are taking steps to ensure the project will continue and expand in order to allow the remaining backlogged kits held by SPD, and other agencies across the state, to be submitted for testing," said Chief Williams. “These efforts mark the most recent positive steps undertaken by SPD as we continue to work diligently to identify perpetrators of sexual assaults and, hopefully, bring long-awaited closure to their victims."
Media Contact: PAO Jasmine Bailey417-864-1786JnBailey@Springfieldmo.gov
Release authorized by Chief Paul Williams