Memphis mayor orders police to process untested rape kits - WKRN News 2

Memphis mayor orders police to process untested rape kits

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Photo courtesy of Daniel Connolly, The Commercial Appeal. Photo courtesy of Daniel Connolly, The Commercial Appeal.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -

The mayor of Memphis has issued an executive order requiring the city's police department to test all of their unprocessed rape kits.

According to The Commercial Appeal, the order given by Mayor A C Wharton also calls for a conversation on improving the city's treatment of rape victims.

Rape kits contain hairs, fluid and other evidence collected from sexual assault victims.

The executive order stems from an August grant requested by the Memphis Police Department to send 2,226 rape kits for screening.

At that time, police director Toney Armstrong stated there were at least 8,000 rape kits left untouched, some dating back to the 1980s.

The city council approved the grant and directed an additional $1.5 million toward processing the kits, which included $1 million to build a facility to store the kits.

On Monday, Mayor Wharton said there are currently 6,889 untested items he is requiring police to process as soon as possible.

The order requires an inventory of the backlogged sexual assault kits, a plan to test all of them, maintenance of the policies to test kits in the future, benchmarks for the process and monthly reports outlining the remedial plan.

The order also states work needs to be done with advocacy groups around the city to help develop policies so they may better deal with sexual assault in the future.

Mayor Wharton is also requiring a community conversation on how police respond to victims of violence, rape and sexual assault, as well as how 911 operators follow-up with the victims.

*The Commercial Appeal contributed to this report.

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