Alaska Crime Lab Capital Project
Intent of the Legislature
In Spring of 2018, the Alaska State Legislature designated $2.75 million in capital funds for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to address untested sexual assault kits (SAKs). While the grant funded DPS SAKI focuses on SAKs associated with Alaska State Troopers' cases, the capital funds will be used to begin testing the remaining untested SAKs across the state associated with the other 47 police departments. The appropriation can be viewed here.
Why are SAKs being tested now?
Progress to date
- The Crime Lab moved towards providing centralized storage for all SAKs after collection. This ensures:
- SAKs are stored for the length of time required by law;
- SAKs are stored under the proper physical conditions to maximize the chance of preserving DNA for successful analysis.
- All 48 police departments have submitted their inventory lists of untested SAKs to the Crime Lab.
- The Crime Lab has received the SAKs from all 48 police departments though Anchorage Police Department is submitting SAKs to the Crime Lab in batches each week due to their large inventory.
- To minimize impact on turnaround time for current cases, the Crime Lab has entered into an agreement with Bode Cellmark Forensics, a private lab, to complete analysis on the previously untested SAKs sent from the police departments.
- To further prioritize sexual assault cases and increase output, the Crime Lab has divided the Forensic Biology Unit into two teams: Sexual Assault Team and the Major/Property Crimes Team
The initial inventory for cases that will be sent out as part of the Capital Kit Project is comprised of those accounted for through the legislative requirement in November 2018. The eligible SAKs for the project may fluctuate as additional cases come in and funds permit.*
** As of May 1, 2020
What is the estimated timeline?
What do we hope to gain by testing the SAKs?
Closure for survivors
Prosecution/ Increased public safety
- Possible links or identification through CODIS
- Additional investigative leads
- Areas to improve
- Improvements previously made
- Recommendations going forward
- Legislative and policies within agencies
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Multidisciplinary teams