SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Chief of Police Greg Suhr has recanted on his original decision to deny funding in the name of testing the city’s backlog of rape kits.
Citing a “maxed out” crime lab in a state of disarray, Suhr initially rejected an offer by the District Attorney’s office to apply for grants that would fund the testing of kits dating back to the early 2000s.
Though the old kits cannot lead to any rape convictions because of the State of California’s 10-year statute of limitations, women’s advocates and the District Attorney believe the testing might help bring closure to past victims as well as help prosecute serial offenders in future court cases.
On Wednesday, June 10, Suhr announced that the police department does, in fact have enough money to fund the expensive DNA testing that the kits will be subjected to.
Suhr stated that testing the kits, which predate 2003, is “a huge priority for me.”
“I care about this issue,” Suhr told the San Jose Mercury News. “It can’t be done fast enough.”
Though the State of California’s 10-year statute of limitations would prevent any convictions, Suhr has asserted that the limit does not apply to cases involving weapons or kidnapping or public officials and clergy members.
“We have to determine how many there are,” Suhr said in a statement last week. “Then we have to figure out how many of those have actually been tested, because there is no clear record,” Suhr said. “Some of the files may be so old that scientifically they are not capable of being tested.”