Greenville police receive grant to test sexual assault kits

lab

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Greenville Police Department is one of 19 agencies across the country to receive a grant to test sexual assault kits.

More than 300 kits sit in the evidence room at the Greenville Police Department, some dating back to the early ‘90s.

“We are going after the repeat offenders that are laying in these boxes and these files back there,” Greenville police Chief Mark Holtzman said.

On average, 25 sexual assault kits are turned in each year.

Many were left untested because the court didn’t need them, or the victim didn’t want to press charges against the suspect.

“We understand the reasoning for that; that doesn’t make the evidence any less valuable,” Holtzman said. “We still have a responsibility to take that piece of evidence and get it tested just in the case…that same offender does it to someone else.”

Holtzman said the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative gives the department over $200,000 over the next three years to send the kits out to labs for testing.

The results will then be entered into a national database where they will be checked against all other crimes where DNA was collected.

“From there we will contact the prosecutor’s office and a detective will be assigned to the case, and we will look at the case all over again,” Holtzman said.

Real Crisis Center assistant director Tracy Kennedy said she’s proud of the GPD.

“To write a grant to want to test all sexual assault cases shows their dedication to sexual assault into preventing it and to wanting to care for the victims,” Kennedy said.

It will take a year or two to test all the kits.

Holtzman said moving forward all sexual assault kits will be tested at a lab once completed, and there will no longer be a backlog.

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