Miami Beach police have 229 untested rape kits that are expected to be tested this year with recently awarded grant money.
The Miami Herald followed up with Beach police after publishing an article Tuesday on a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report examining the number of untested rape kits statewide. According to the report, more than one in four of Florida’s 13,500 untested kits exist in Miami-Dade.
Miami Beach’s police department did not participate in the statewide survey.
Miami Beach police expects its 229 untested rape kits will be tested by Miami-Dade police this year.
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On Tuesday, Beach police said the department has 229 untested kits, with the majority of them from cases in which the victims signed they wouldn’t prosecute.
The department intends to get the kits tested this year, according to Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.
“We were prepared to get them tested at our expense in 2015, but we became aware that the Miami-Dade Police Department was in line for possible grant funding to address the backlog across the county,” he said. “That grant has now come through, and we expect all our outstanding kits to be tested by Miami-Dade in the coming year.”
Rodriguez said the department gets many requests for surveys, and Police Chief Dan Oates did not recall receiving this one.
“The department receives many requests to participate in surveys, some of which we honor and some of which we do not because of the staff time that must be allocated,” Rodriguez said.
Monday’s FDLE report recommended testing all kits. In other cities, testing old kits has helped lead to arrests. The FDLE reports that after New York officials started testing 17,000 old samples in 2000, 200 cold cases were prosecuted. In Houston, the testing of 6,663 kits resulted in 850 matches in the federal DNA database and prosecution of 29 suspects.