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Crime and Courts

Wichita Police Department Commits To Testing All Sexual Assault Evidence Kits

Wichita Police Department

The Wichita Police Department will test all sexual assault kits it collects.

In the past, officers determined which kits would be submitted to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for testing.

About 1,700 kits currently are untested, dating back to 2002. The backlog has grown by close to 600 kits since 2015.

The kits contain DNA taken from women who reported sexual assaults, along with other evidence.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said Friday that each of the backlogged kits will be sent to the KBI for forensic testing.

He said the initiative is about changing the department’s response to sexual assault.

“This effort has righted a wrong,” he said. “While our well-intended past practices were just that -- we operated with good intent -- we now look back and realize it was not the best practice.”

Ramsay said the department plans to deliver the entire backlog to the KBI by the end of the year.

Ray Strunk is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.