Wichita police caught up on all sexual assault kits

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department has been on a mission to get every single rape and sexual assault kit tested. Now, they say they have done just that.

“For a patient that comes in feeling like a victim, we would like to remind them that they are a survivor that they are important,” says Forensic Nurse Megan Meier. “That they are relevant.”

Meier, who works at Wesley Medical Center, says it means more now than ever.

“When we get a patient, now, it is better because we can actually say your kit will be tested,” Meier explains.

That’s because the KBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigations, set out on a mission in 2015 to have the state’s backlog of more than 2,000 kits tested.

“We did have about half of the states backlog,” says Lt. Jason Stephens of the Wichita Police Department.

The department submitted more than a thousand kits on a case by case basis in 2017. In November of 2018, the department changed its policy to make sure all kits get tested.

“We, as a department, said how are we going to accomplish this?” 

It was through a team effort, instead of just hauling the kits to the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, they started taking them to KBI labs in Topeka.

“It is very liberating to know we are going to test all of them,” says Lt. Stephens. “As a matter of fact, we are already getting results on the ones that we delivered early this year.”

Which gives Meier more purpose every day she shows up to work.

“It can kind of change someone’s mind who is kind of on the fence about making a reported case verses a non-reported case.”

Police says one of the most important reasons the department is testing all kits is because all evidence is now submitted in a national database that could link a victims attacker to another case in the state, or even around the country.

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