The Los Angeles Police Department says it has made considerable progress in analyzing DNA evidence from thousands of rapes and sexual assaults that had been left untested, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police officials acknowledged the department has more work to do to resolve the DNA backlog. Police Chief Charlie Beck was honored Friday by the California Forensic Science Institute for his effortss. Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, who as attorney general, orchestrated the use of new DNA testing in a serial killer case this year, and two others were also honored.
In late 2008, Police Chief William Bratton, under pressure from victim advocate groups, tasked Beck with getting a handle on thousands of pieces of DNA evidence that had languished in police storage freezers for years. The department counted 6,132 untested rape kits containing samples of semen, blood, hair or other DNA material collected from victims’ bodies and crime scenes. The police department used funds from federal grants, public sources, and private donors for an aggressive push to outsource the testing of evidence kits to private labs. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said police have outsourced all but 35 of the rape kits that were found suitable for testing.