Local level SAEC policies/data (Austin, TX)

Vanessa Nason filed this request with the Austin Police Department of Austin, TX.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Vanessa Nason

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Any and all statistics, data, reports, audits, policies, and procedures pertaining to the following items regarding sexual assault evidence collection (SAEC) kits (also known as "rape kits") and processing:

• all standard operating procedures regarding the SAEC process

• any written policies or procedures regarding department practices on the acquisition of or handling of rape kit evidence, including protocols for its collection, testing, and delegation and transfer to all other possibly relevant locations, laboratories, or agencies

• the number of kits collected and booked into evidence from the period of January 1, 2000 through the date this request is processed

• the number of kits that have been processed by a public or private crime or forensic laboratory or equivalent processing location from the period of January 1, 2000 through the date this request is processed

• the number of unprocessed kits in any storage facilities currently under the department’s jurisdiction and control, including those held by medical personnel or at external laboratory locations

• any materials regarding the status or ultimate disposition of cases in which a kit was collected. Please include all available segregable data.

• all audits involving this agency regarding the collection or backlog of SAEC kits

• all proposed alterations or yet-to-be-implemented changes to the policies and procedures regarding the collection, testing, and use of SAEC kits

If there any questions about this request, please feel free to call us at the MuckRock office at 617-299-1832.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Nason

From: Austin Police Department

Dear Vanessa Nason,
Thank you for your e-mail to the City of Austin. Your request is being processed.
Consistent with the Texas Public Information Act, you can expect communication from the City of Austin within 10 business days after the date the information was requested.
The City of Austin will make the effort to ensure that the information you have requested is made available to you in a timely manner. However, depending on the scope of the request and the time required to research and compile the information, should the City of Austin not be readily able to produce the information you have requested, the communication you receive may indicate items such as:
Thus, please note that the communication you can expect to receive does not necessarily mean responsive information you have requested will be available within the 10 business days.
For more information about the Public Information Act visit the City of Austin website at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/open-records (http://www.austintexas.gov/department/open-records)

Thank you,
PIO Public Information Specialist

From: Austin Police Department

Hi Vanessa,

Just touching base with you on your request. I am waiting on an answer from our forensics/sex crimes folks as to what we will be able to provide to you.

We are not able to provide dispositions of cases once a kit is collected. You might check with the District Attorney’s office for this information.

I will provide a list of what responsive information we do have by next week.

Thank you,
Lisa Cortinas
APD PIO
512-974-5017

From: Austin Police Department

Hi Vanessa,

In regards to your open records request below, I should have responsive information to you by Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

Thank you,
Lisa Cortinas
APD PIO
512-974-5017

From: Austin Police Department

Hi Vanessa,

It sounds like we will need a bit more time on your request. New estimated date for completion is 5-18.

Thank you,
Lisa

From: Austin Police Department

Hi Vanessa,

Thanks for your patience with this request. The responsive information is below. I will be closing out your request now.

Thank you,
Lisa Cortinas
APD PIO
512-974-5072

EXCEPTIONALLY UNSUBMITTED SAKs 2000-2018

SAKs Collected 2000-2018

Unfounded

No Sexual Offense Occurred

Out-of-City Sexual Assault

Sum Total

SAKs "Processed" 2000-2018

Total Unprocessed SAKs

6650

31

26

213

< 270 >

6380

0

DEFINITIONS:

SAK
A sexual assault kit (SAK) is a collection of evidence gathered from the victim by a medical professional, often a specially trained medical forensic examiner. The type of evidence collected depends on what occurred during the sexual assault. The contents of a SAK may sometimes vary, but generally include swabs, test tubes, microscopic slides, and evidence collection envelopes for hairs and fibers.

Backlog
A SAK from a case that is not unfounded and has not been submitted for testing for more than 30 days from the date the law enforcement agency collected the SAK. (in accordance with Texas Penal Code 420.042).

Unprocessed
Refers to a SAK that has not yet been submitted to a lab for forensic testing.

Exceptions to processing
Exceptions occur when the law enforcement agency collects a SAK for due diligence, but an exception to processing and testing exists, or is later established that excludes the SAK from the requirement for the collecting agency to process the SAK for testing at the forensic laboratory. Exceptions are:
Unfounded
At the conclusion of a reasonable law enforcement investigation, there is direct evidence which clearly and convincingly establishes that a sex crime did not occur.

No Sex Crime Occurred
Law Enforcement Agencies rely on the Medical Examiner's Office to conduct autopsies after deaths, including some that are determined to be of natural causes. Some deaths, while ruled criminal, do not involve a sexual component of any type.
However, some medical examiners routinely collect a SAK as part of every autopsy. When no sexual assault occurred, the SAK collected is not processed and tested.

Out-of-City
Sexual assault victims may report to any hospital and request a SANE/SAFE exam when they have been sexually assaulted. This law enforcement agency collects all SAKs from hospitals within its jurisdiction, when the hospital has not made arrangements with the agency having investigative jurisdiction to otherwise retrieve the SAK. This law enforcement agency makes every effort to transfer the SAK to the agency with investigative jurisdiction.

Unsubmitted
A SAK in the possession of the law enforcement agency, for which a request has not been submitted for the forensic laboratory to conduct testing and analysis.

Tested
Forensic biology testing has been completed on one or more samples from the SAK and the law enforcement agency has received the associated laboratory findings report from the laboratory.

DETAILS OF ORIGINAL P.I.R. REQUEST:

Pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Any and all statistics, data, reports, audits, policies, and procedures pertaining to the following items regarding sexual assault evidence collection (SAEC) kits (also known as "rape kits") and processing:

* the number of kits collected and booked into evidence from the period of January 1, 2000 through the date this request is processed

* the number of kits that have been processed by a public or private crime or forensic laboratory or equivalent processing location from the period of January 1, 2000 through the date this request is processed

* the number of unprocessed kits in any storage facilities currently under the department's jurisdiction and control, including those held by medical personnel or at external laboratory locations

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