Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine encourages law enforcement agencies to submit for testing all sexual assault kits tied to cases in which they believe a crime occurred. Submitting all kits, even old ones, helps ensure that available sex offender DNA is added to state and federal databases.
The appeal follows a recommendation by the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit Commission that agencies adopt policies favoring the submission of all kits unless they determine no crime occurred.
"The thinking should be that even if you don’t have an immediate direct match, that kit still has value," the Attorney General said, noting the benefit of expanding the Ohio and Federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
To test old kits without delaying work on current cases, Attorney General DeWine authorized a new Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) unit of four forensic scientists who will work exclusively on old kits. The unit is expected to handle 1,500 cases the first year and 3,000 cases annually after that.
BCI estimates only about 50 percent of kits are currently submitted for testing. With the new recommendation, up to 90 percent could be forwarded for processing, doubling BCI’s caseload to 2,000 kits per year, The bureau plans to keep turnaround times in check through increased staffing and greater reliance on robotics.
In addition, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy will enhance sexual assault courses to emphasize interaction with victims, victim advocates, and medical personnel. It also is working with the Crime Victim Section on an eOPOTA course that stresses a victim-focused response to sexual assaults.
For more information: To view the Recommended Policy on Submission of Sexual Assault Kits or see a list of Sexual Assault Kit Commission members, visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/SexualAssaultKitCommission
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