JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement survey of untested rape kits is 84 percent complete. It found 10,900 kits in evidence lockers across Florida. Jennifer Dritt of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence says she isn't surprised.
"We don't like it, and most victim advocates don't like it," Dritt said. "But it's really not surprising because there are a number of issues that lead to a backlog."
Kits may have not been tested because victims had a change of heart, arrests were already made, or prosecutors doubted allegations. Dritt added another reason.
"Does the jurisdiction, does the law enforcement agency prioritize sexual-assault investigations?" she asked. "Very often, they don't."
The Council Against Sexual Violence thinks every kit should be tested.
"Processing a kit can lead to removing someone from a pool of suspects, basically someone who is a suspect and shouldn't be," Dritt said. "It can validate or verify a victim's story. It can link crimes to other unsolved crimes."
Sen. Joe Negron worried the outsourced tests won't stand up in court. Costs remain an issue, as testing each kit costs between $750 and $900.
The numbers of kits not submitted for analysis for each Northeast Florida agency were:
- Alachua County Sheriff's Office -- 0
- Atlantic Beach Police Department -- 16
- Baker County Sheriff's Office -- 6
- Bradford County Sheriff's Office -- 0
- Clay County Sheriff's Office -- 2
- Columbia County Sheriff's Office -- 0
- Fernandina Beach Police Department -- 0
- Flagler County Sheriff's Office -- 15
- Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind campus police -- 0
- Gainesville Police Department -- 11
- Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office -- 6
- Green Cove Springs Police Department -- 0
- Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department -- 0
- Jacksonville Beach Police Department -- 21
- Jacksonville Sheriff's Office -- 1,302
- Nassau County Sheriff's Office -- 6
- Neptune Beach Police Department -- 3
- Putnam County Sheriff's Office -- 21
- Santa Fe College Police Department -- zero
- St. Augustine Beach Police Department -- Nothing submitted
- St. Augustine Police Department -- 4
- St. Johns County Sheriff's Office -- 76
- Suwannee County Sheriff's Office -- 1
- UNF Police Department -- 1
- Union County Sheriff's Office -- 0
For more information, visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's official website.