Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that 85 untested sexual assault kits were gathered from 22 neighboring agencies and shipped from the Clayton Police Department in St. Louis County. The Attorney General’s Office has worked with law enforcement agencies across the state to gather untested sexual assault kits from neighboring departments to be shipped off to the lab.
“The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is working expeditiously to gather untested sexual assault kits from departments and agencies across the state to be sent to the lab,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “I appreciate Chief Smith and the Clayton Police Department’s help on this important initiative.”
”The Clayton Police Department was proud to have the opportunity of providing the resources and facility for the collection of untested sexual assault kits from our region. The level of participation from neighboring agencies shows the dedication of our local law enforcement officers in investigating and advocating for victims of sexual violence,” said Chief Mark Smith.
In all, 85 kits were gathered from neighboring departments, such as Des Peres, Ladue, Webster Groves, Town & Country, Hazelwood, St. Ann, and Florissant, and sent off to the private lab to be tested.
Since the first shipping event, held at the Springfield Police Department in December of 2019, over 1,200 untested sexual assault kits that were identified in the SAFE Kit Initiative inventory have been shipped to the private lab in Virginia to be tested.
In addition to yesterday’s event, shipping events have been held in Independence, O’Fallon, Lee's Summit, Grandview, Springfield, Columbia, St. Joseph, Blue Springs, and Joplin, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Camden County Sheriff's Office, the Cass County Sheriff's Office, the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office, and the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office.
Regional shipping events will continue in the future as the Attorney General's Office continues to work to gather and ship backlogged untested sexual assault kits to the lab for testing.
The SAFE Kits Initiative, funded by a grant administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, was launched by Attorney General Schmitt in January of 2019 to inventory all untested sexual assault kits in the backlog, create an electronic tracking system, and send those identified kits to a lab for forensic testing and potentially eventual prosecution.