The Show on KJZZ

Listen live weekdays at 9 a.m.

Phoenix Police To Analyze All Untested Rape Kits

By Will Stone, Mark Brodie
Published: Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 6:48pm
Updated: Friday, July 1, 2016 - 3:49pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (4.32 MB)
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)

More than a thousand untested rape kits in Phoenix will soon be analyzed. On Friday, the Phoenix Police Department will implement a new policy to ensure every kit gets tested.

Historically, about 30 percent of the rape kits collected by Phoenix police were never tested. Often, that’s because the DNA evidence wouldn’t yield any new information for the particular case. For example, a woman accuses someone of sexual assault, but the alleged assailant argues it was consensual.

Altogether, Phoenix has about 1,700 untested kits.

“Now we’re going to test all the kits,” Assistant Police Chief Mary Roberts.

Roberts said even though kits can't confirm whether that exact incident was consensual, the kits can provide evidence for other relevant crimes.

“We enter that DNA and guess what? He’s done the same thing in Scottsdale, the same thing in Tempe, the same thing in Glendale. We now have established a pattern of behavior. Now we can compile those cases,” Roberts said.

She said advances in investigative tactics and technology have led to a broader push to revisit previously untested kits.

It will cost the department about $1.7 million to test its backlog. 

Hear from Assistant Police Chief Mary Roberts and Tasha Menaker, director of sexual violence response initiatives at the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence about Phoenix Police's new measure on the The Show.

The Show
The Show: Phoenix Police To Test All Sexual Assault Kits