Local level SAEC polices/data (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Vanessa Nason filed this request with the Lincoln Police Department of Lincoln, NE.

It is a clone of this request.

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Completed

Communications

From: Vanessa Nason

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Nebraska Public Records 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 4 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Nason

From: Lincoln Police Department

Ms. Nason,
The Lincoln Police Department is in receipt of your request. I will meet with staff this week to determine how long it will take to gather this information and if there are any objections or hurtles in obtaining this information. If it will take over four hours, I will provide you with an estimate and you can either decide to pay this costs or reduce your request. We can discuss it more when I have a more educated understanding of the info that is available.

Thanks.
Tonya Peters
Police Legal Advisor

From: Lincoln Police Department

Ms. Nason,
This is just an update that we are still working on your request.
Tonya

From: Lincoln Police Department

Ms. Nason.

This response is to your public records request dated March 16th which was received via email on March 19th. Acknowledgement of your request was sent on March 19th indicting the City was working on a response, and the City provided status updates (see below). Please accept my apologies for the delayed response. I needed to track down the attached documents and to go over your request with staff. The City's response is as follows:

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: (City's Responses provided below to each request)

* all standard operating procedures regarding the SAEC process

The police department does possess an standard operating procedures (SOP) that concerns the processing of evidence in criminal cases. This SOP is being denied by Chief Jeff Bliemeister pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(5), records developed by law enforcement agency which are part of investigation or strategic information, intelligence information, used for training.

* 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 police department does possess policies that concern the processing of SAEC that concerns the processing of evidence in criminal cases. This SOP is being denied by Chief Jeff Bliemeister pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(5), records developed by law enforcement agency which are part of investigation or strategic information, intelligence information, used for training.

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

The City of Lincoln Police Department (LPD) does possess records concerning the number of SAEC collected and booked into evidence. The documents would be property reports and electronic data regarding the property report and case file. The property reports and the electronic data in its current form are being denied by Chief Jeff Bliemeister pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(5), records developed by law enforcement agency which are part of investigation or strategic information, intelligence information, used for training, complaints by citizens. The electronic data could be manipulated to provide a total, but would require the investigative information be redacted and a review of the data to ensure that all kits were included due to how the information is keyed in the database. Furthermore, this information is provided in the attached documents up to 2017 (date unknown). This collection of information would take more than four hours. If you would like to make this request, please let me know and I will get you a cost estimate. A deposit will be required before collection begins.

Police staff do prepare investigative information reports for the Chief. As part of this information, the attached stats were provided in 2017. The remaining portions of the investigative report(s) is denied for the same reasons as above. Please see the attached documents for statistical information. Please note: As you are aware there is great debate as to whether every kits gets tested or each kit is tested based on its evidentiary value, and the government budgeting for testing kits creating backlogs. There are kits here that are untested, but this is not due to a backlog in the labs or due to lack of funding. These type of investigations are often complex, emotional, and continue to develop as more information becomes available. Some of these numbers may be "inaccurate" as staff preparing stats based upon existence of a lab report v. none, which doesn't account for the kits sent to the lab but no report received. Additionally, kits are tested based upon evidentiary value. There are prosecutorial reasons for not testing, for example: suspect known and made admissions, contaminated kits due to situations like a pool/chlorine, time delays; or not sent due to request of victim or due to fear and other pressures of addressing traumatic events that are at no fault the victim's but the unfortunate on-going trauma of these cases; anonymous reporting with no information concerning the alleged crime, jurisdictions, date of incident, etc. Again, there was no issues identified regarding lack of funding or the availability of a lab for testing. No backlog testing issues identified.

* 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 police department does possess records concerning the number of SAEC processed by a public or private crime lab. However, this information is contained in individual lab reports. The lab reports are being denied by Chief Jeff Bliemeister pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(5), records developed by law enforcement agency which are part of investigation or strategic information, intelligence information, used for training.

For background information, the State of Nebraska operates a state crime lab. Departments can send SAEC kits for testing at no expense to the agency. The SAEC kits are processed in accordance with the State's protocol. If a SAEC kits needs to be processed in a quicker manner, LPD may send this kit to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Decisions to do so are based on the individual case situation.

* 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

Please see the City's answer above regarding the number of kits checked into evidence, and the attached documentation.

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

In addition to the attached stats, LPD has numerous documents containing crime statistics. However, it does not possess a document limited to when a kit was collected. If you would like to review the available public data, please see the Lincoln Police Department webpage, specifically annual reports, at http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/annual/index.htm. There is also a wealth of data that can be found in the City's open data link. This link is specific to crime, but you can do your own search: http://opendata.lincoln.ne.gov/datasets?t=all(safety%2Ccrime) Other information may be contained in the investigative case file, this information is being denied by Chief Jeff Bliemeister pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(5), records developed by law enforcement agency which are part of investigation or strategic information, intelligence information, used for training, complaints by citizens.

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

It is unclear what specifically you are requesting. There are no backlog issues. The police department does conduct audit of the property room to ensure that protocols are being followed and evidence is not missing. Police staff are assigned to review the investigating officer's work as a second review of all sexual assaults investigations. I am sure that I am misunderstanding the request, so feel free to further clarify.

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

There are no documents that meet this request.

If I can provide you additional assistance, please let me know. The relevant statutes and information concerning appeal of the above denials is also attached.

Tonya

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