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A New System to Ensure Sexual-Assault Cases Aren’t Forgotten

April 12, 2019

In 2015, a coalition was formed to brainstorm how to best address 11,000 untested sexual-assault kits discovered in a Detroit storage locker six years earlier. This coalition eventually led Michigan to pilot one of the first tracking systems. STACS DNA, a software company Michigan already employed to track DNA evidence in its crime labs, partnered with the state to develop the software Track-Kit, which is now used in at least nine Michigan counties (and in the summer will go live in the entire state), as well as in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington.

Captain Monica Alexander of the Washington State Patrol told me that every jurisdiction in Washington now uses Track-Kit, and said it’s going “really well.” She pointed out the importance of the system’s simple design. “You have very young rape victims, you have very old rape victims,” she said. “They wanted to make sure that anyone from any age group could use this.” She explained that if she called her IT department “right now,” someone could tell her the exact number of kits uploaded on any given day. Washington’s goal is to also upload all backlogged kits into the system—which right now number more than 4,000.

—Excerpt from “A New System to Ensure Sexual-Assault Cases Aren’t Forgotten,” Madeleine Carlisle, The Atlantic, April 7, 2019