Local level SAEC polices/data (Baltimore Police Department)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Baltimore Police Department of Baltimore, MD.
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Maryland's Public Information Act ("PIA"), 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,

Beryl Lipton

From: DCU

Mr. Beryl Lipton

This request is actually multiple requests. Your request was forwarded to several custodians for review.

This office is in receipt of your request for Baltimore Police Department’s records. The request you have made may require examination of voluminous amounts of records, may be located with several custodians within the Baltimore. I have forwarded your request to several BPD custodians for review.

· 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 You may viewed the BPD policies at https://www.baltimorepolice.org/transparency/policies
All other requests are under review. The BPD is diligently working to provide the responsive documents, answers to your questions or costs to collect and process records for release. This BPD asks for a 30 day extension to fulfil your request.

Sincerely,

Wayne Brooks
Assistant to Legal Affairs
Baltimore Police Department
100 N Holiday St., Room 100,
Baltimore, Md. 21202
DCU@baltimorepolice.org<mailto:DCU@baltimorepolice.org>
MPIA request forms
http://law.baltimorecity.gov/office-legal-affairs-baltimore-police-department

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be a privileged and confidential attorney/client communication, or otherwise confidential, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the Legal Affairs Division immediately by telephone at 410-396-2496 and DELETE the message from your system immediately. Thank you.

The materials in this e-mail are private and may contain sensitive law enforcement information. Please note that e-mail is not necessarily confidential or secure. Use of e-mail constitutes your acknowledgment of these confidentiality and security limitations. If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that any unauthorized use, disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited as covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2521. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify the sender via telephone or return e-mail.

From: Brooks, Wayne

Ms. Beryl Lipton

You have made a request for public records pursuant to the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA), which is the General Provisions Article, § 4-101, et seq., of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The BPD has several custodians of the records. You have requested:

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:

In short, no records exist that are wholly responsive to your request. The official custodians that would have the responsive records, if they existed, tried their best to address each specific response below and identify possible records that may be partially responsive and/or helpful resources for the information you are seeking.

* all standard operating procedures regarding the SAEC process The BPD does not have SAEC specific technical manuals. The Laboratory section can supply the DNA and Serology Technical Manuals and you can review and pick out what you believe is responsive.

* 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 complete BPD policies are located at https://www.baltimorepolice.org/transparency/policies . "Procedures" would be the procedures used by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and not the BPD officers or Laboratory. The above referenced procedure manual would be the closest thing to responsive records the BPD has.
* the number of kits collected and booked into evidence from the period of January 1, 2000 through the date this request is processed To date, the Evidence Control Unit (ECU) does not maintain separate "rape kit" information within its database largely because the technology does not, require the kits to be specifically identified, so when kits are received by counter personnel in ECU, they are recorded as "general property." The property's only designation as being a rape kit, safe kit, Sara kit, etc., is indicated in the description field of the property entry, which is a text/narrative format. Due to the way the database is configured, it does not allow for the ready identification or tracking of sexual assault kits. Different naming schemes over the years, such as, SAEC Kits, Rape Kits, Sexual Assault kits, SAFK Kits etc., have compounded this issue.

Because of changing legal requirements, nomenclatures, and outdated technology, the BPD cannot generate accurate or reliable data. The only other way to obtain a semi-accurate number going back to 2000 would be to review every sex offense case file and cross reference the property numbers in the case files with the chain of custody reports generated by the Evidence Control Unit. This would require an unknown amount of dedicated staff time, likely into 100's of hours. This would be considered creating a new record to satisfy a MPIA request.

A major undertaking was started in November 2016, in an attempt to identify and extract rape kits that have been packaged "with" other evidence or stored in other locations within ECU and relocate them to a single identified location. This project is ongoing and will likely take months if not another year to complete. At the end of this project, the BPD will be able provide more accurate and reliable data based on the kits stored in the designated central location.

* 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. Because there was no legal requirement to track sexual assault kits as a specific item/category of evidence in terms of statistics, every sex offense investigation file would have to be reviewed and data recorded as a new record. This would be considered creating a new record to satisfy an MPIA request, which BPD is not required to do. See GP § 4-205(c)(4)(iii). As stated above, the BPD has started to identify and extract the rape kits from the other evidence labels/designations/categories and relocate them to a single identified location. The BPD is now tracking sexual assault kits, as new kits are submitted to ECU.
* 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. As reported by Statewide Accounting of Untested Sexual Assault Evidence Kits in the State of Maryland Report of the Office of Attorney General (see attached), Baltimore Police has 871 untested SAEC kits.

* any materials regarding the status or ultimate disposition of cases in which a kit was collected. Please include all available segregable data. The BPD could provide the status of sex offense cases as recorded in Lotus Notes (open or close by arrest or exception). However, the petitioner would have to seek court dispositions from the court that heard the criminal case.

* all audits involving this agency regarding the collection or backlog of SAEC kits The BPD has not conducted audits of collection or backlog of SAEC kits. Thus, no records exist that are responsive to this request.
* all proposed alterations or yet-to-be-implemented changes to the policies and procedures regarding the collection, testing, and use of SAEC kits Any responsive records that may exist that are responsive to this request would be withheld, as they constitute deliberative process. "Deliberative process" is not required to be disclosed. All current policies can be accessed through the link provided above. As the State or Federal laws change, the BPD will adhere to those laws. You can follow any Maryland law changes by viewing GAM-Legislative Tracking at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home. State law now requires BPD retain kits for at least 20 years, unless the case for which the evidence was collected resulted in a conviction and the sentence has been completed, or all suspects identified by testing the kit are deceased. See CRIMINAL PROCEDURE-SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS' RIGHTS-DISPOSAL OF RAPE KIT EVIDENCE AND NOTIFICATION, 2017 Maryland Laws Ch. 158 (S.B. 349).

Sincerely,

Wayne Brooks
Assistant to Legal Affairs
Baltimore Police Department
100 N Holiday St., Room 100,
Baltimore, Md. 21202
DCU@baltimorepolice.org<mailto:DCU@baltimorepolice.org>
MPIA request forms
http://law.baltimorecity.gov/office-legal-affairs-baltimore-police-department

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be a privileged and confidential attorney/client communication, or otherwise confidential, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the Legal Affairs Division immediately by telephone at 410-396-2496 and DELETE the message from your system immediately. Thank you.

The materials in this e-mail are private and may contain sensitive law enforcement information. Please note that e-mail is not necessarily confidential or secure. Use of e-mail constitutes your acknowledgment of these confidentiality and security limitations. If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that any unauthorized use, disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited as covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2521. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify the sender via telephone or return e-mail.

Files