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Huge Rape-Kit Testing Backlog Will Vanish with $4.4 Million Plan, Mayor Says

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Problem should finally be solved, mayor says
The city's mountainous pile of rape kits -- 6,600 kits waiting to be tested by labs -- will be gone in 14 months, Mayor Annise Parker announced today.

The city will spend $4.4 million to have the kits tested at two private labs.

"With this plan we will finally be able to say the backlog is gone," Parker said. "The problem was years in the making and we've been working to solve it since I became mayor. It has been a struggle to deal with during a period of extremely difficult economic times, but we remained determined. I am committed to it never happening again."

The backlog was part of a chronic and extensive problem with crime labs here; for years, media have pointed out the problems and officials have vowed to fix them.

Parker's presentation to council suggested using Bode Technology Group, Inc. and Sorenson Forensics, LLC as the labs to get rid of the backlog, some of which goes back decades.

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Houston police chief Charles McClelland said the plan should give the labs a new start. "I am extremely confident this will not be an issue in the future," he said.

Half of the $4.4 million has already been set aside in the budget for dealing with the rape-kit backlog; the other half will come from grant money already given to HPD.

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