Comm > SAK > Capital Project

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?

 
1. Shift in approach and mindset to testing
2. Research supported policy changes
3. Advancements in technology
4. Funding from SAKI grant funds and State capital funds

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 45 of the 48 police departments.
  • To minimize impact on turnaround time for current cases, the Crime Lab has entered into an agreement with a private lab to complete analysis on the previously untested SAKs sent from the police departments with an anticipated start time of November 2018.
  • 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

What is the estimated timeline?

  1. November 2018: The first shipment to Bode Cellmark Forensics lab of Approximately 100 kits per month is shipped
  2. March 2019: The first results are expected to be recieved from Bode, seperated into kits that have Foreign DNA and kits that do not have Foreign DNA
  3. Within 45 days of the results being recieved, if the kit does not have Foreign DNA the report from Bode will be forwareded to Law Enforcement. If the kit does have Foreign DNA, the Eligibility confirmation from Law Enforcement and Department of Law will take place. 
    1. Eligible profiles will be entered into CODIS
    2. Ineligible profiles will not recieve a CODIS entry
  4. December 2020: The final shipment of Kits to Bode will go out (estimated total of 2568 kits processed)
  5. September 2021: Estimated project completion - all eligible profiles entered into CODIS



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

Policy evaluation

  • Areas to improve
    • How can we do better?
  • Improvements previously made
    • What has worked?
  • Recommendations going forward
    • Legislative and policies within agencies

Training

  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Prosecutors
  • Multidisciplinary teams