Cincinnati Police Chief Still Concerned About Change In Rape Kit Testing

Jul 31, 2017

For now, a state crime lab outside of Columbus is testing rape kits collected by the Cincinnati Police Department.  

Until recently that analysis was happening at the Hamilton County crime lab.  

But the county coroner has temporarily halted that work because of a backlog in her office.  

Police Chief Eliot Isaac told City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee Monday he is concerned about the change.

"We are traveling an hour and a half away to have evidence processed," Isaac said. "So that is certainly something for a major city police department to be concerned about."

The kits must be hand delivered to preserve the chain of evidence necessary for court proceedings. The kits cannot be sent through the mail.

The state crime lab is expected to return results from its testing in about three weeks. That analysis at the county crime lab would take three to four months.

Council Member Kevin Flynn calls that one bright side to the issue.

"It may have a detrimental effort on our budget and on our policing, but there may be a positive that also comes to it if we're able to actually move forward with some DNA evidence after three weeks as opposed to six months," Flynn said.

Council Member Christopher Smitherman suggests the city could pay for the local analysis.

"The taxpayers of Cincinnati might say we're willing to pay the $50,000 to keep our officers off the road and not deviate from what we've been doing in the past," Smitherman said.

The county coroner says she'll take another look at the moratorium by the end of the year.