HONOLULU — All four of Hawaii’s county police departments have missed a deadline requiring them to submit information on their untested rape kits.
The requirements of the Sept. 1 deadline were signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July. The police departments have been asked to report to the state attorney general’s office how many untested rape kits they have and provide the dates the forensic evidence was collected, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2d4AdlV).
“I understand the county police are working diligently on these inventory reports and expect they will transmit these reports to us in the near future,” said Attorney General Doug Chin in response to emailed questions.
The information from the police departments will be included in a final report due to the Legislature on Dec. 1.
Under the law, the attorney general’s office formed a working group to produce the final report. The group has been meeting for several months and is comprised of officials from the county police departments, county prosecutors’ offices and service providers for sexual assault victims.
The final report is meant to help the state find better ways to address its backlog of untested rape kits, some of which date back to the 1990s.
Julie Ebato, administrator for the attorney general’s Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, said the state’s police departments are taking the requirements seriously. She said the division still expects to meet the December deadline to submit its final report to lawmakers.
“The police have been trying to make a really good-faith effort to get us the data,” Ebato said.
Kata Issari is the executive director of Joyful Heart Foundation’s Hawaii office, which advocated for testing mandates for police during this year’s legislative session. She said in an email her organization is “hopeful that they will fulfill their obligation to report on the number of untested kits in their possession, as this is a crucial component of creating rape kit reform in our state.”
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com