Governor Ducey has appointed Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk to his special team set up to help clear rape kit backlogs.
In his State of the State address on January 11, 2016, Ducey stated, “...right now, in just Maricopa County alone, there is a backlog of 2,300 rape kits that sit in storage, uninvestigated. All across our state, women await justice, and predators evade the law looking for their next victim.”
As for the number of untested kits across the state? Nobody knows how many there are. Some counties might have none, while others could have hundreds.
When asked if there were a backlog of rape kits in Yavapai County, Penny Cramer, the Administrative Assistant to Polk replied that law enforcement agencies would have information if there were a backlog. “We are not aware of a back log. If there was a backlog, we would be made aware of it by DPS and the law enforcement agencies.”
Dwight D’Evelyn, Media Relations Coordinator for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s department, explained, "According to our Detective Commander we do not have a backlog of pending rape kit tests.”
Ducey signed an Executive Order establishing the Arizona Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force on January 11, noting that “…processing of these kits is a critical first step in bringing justice for victims and holding offenders accountable for their crimes."
Members of the Task Force are charged with three duties:
- Develop and recommend a statewide standard process for testing protocols of sexual assault evidence collection kits, possibly incorporating best practices from other jurisdictions.
- Develop and recommend a statewide tracking system for all sexual assault kits.
- Identify and document the locations of all untested sexual assault kits.
“For too long, women across our state have awaited justice for the despicable crimes inflicted upon them, while predators evade the law looking for their next victim,” said Governor Ducey. “We must do everything in our power to stand up for those who’ve been victimized – and that means bringing to bear every resource and taking every necessary action to identify their assailants and lock them behind bars before they harm anyone else.”
- Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General
- Representative Kate Brophy McGee, Arizona House of Representatives
- Colleen Clase, Arizona Voice for Crime Victims
- Christina Corieri, Office of Governor Doug Ducey
- Sherriff Mark J. Dannels, Cochise County Sheriff
- Jessie Delmar, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety
- Senator Katie Hobbs, Arizona State Senate
- Jessye Johnson, Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
- Todd Larson, Honor Health
- Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney
- Senator Debbie Lesko, Arizona State Senate
- Representative Phil Lovas, Arizona House of Representatives
- Myriah Mhoon, Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family
- Colonel Frank Milstead, Department of Public Safety
- Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney
- Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
- Mary Roberts, Phoenix Police Department
- Pete Wingert, Paradise Valley Police Department