City receives millions to test rape kit backlog

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis is getting about $3.9 million in grants for sexual assault kit testing and more.

It was announced on Thursday the city would be getting more than $1.9 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Some of that money will be used to test rape kits.

City leaders also announced an additional $1.9 million from the New York County District Attorney's Office.

"The monies that we have in hand is enough to complete the testing of all of the kits that we have in our inventory today," said Doug McGowen, the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

McGowen said the money will also be used in other areas.

"It will be used for providing transportation to victims and witnesses to testify in cases that we need them to; it will be used for overtime for personnel who are doing investigations," he explained.

"When we started this work in the fall of 2013, we had more than 12,000 kits in our inventory. Today just under 40 percent of the inventory is complete with analysis; another 20 percent is at forensic labs for analysis. Just over 40 percent of inventory still needs to be shipped labs for analysis," said Mayor A C Wharton.

District Attorney Amy Weirich said it's all about making sure rape victims get justice.

"It's really about convicting, it's about getting as many rapist locked up as we possibly can," she said.

The city will host a SAK Summit October 19- 21 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

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