Local level SAEC polices/data (Madison, WI)

Vanessa Nason filed this request with the Madison Police Department of Madison, WI.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Vanessa Nason

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Wisconsin Open 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 would request your response within ten (10) business days.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Nason

From:

Ms. Nason,

Sorry for the delay but I wanted to respond to you that we received the records request you made through muckrock. I was hoping to get started on it by now but have been very busy with other pending requests. I will get started on it but unfortunately it will have to wait until the beginning of April as I will be out of the office this week. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Lieutenant John Radovan
Records Custodian
City of Madison Police Department
(608) 266-6068

From: Madison Police Department

I’ve got what records we have to release but have to go through one document for redactions and then put the response together. I would expect I will be able to work on that and get it out this week.

Lieutenant John Radovan
Records Custodian
City of Madison Police Department
(608) 266-6068

From: Madison Police Department

Ms. Nason,

I'm responding to the records request you faxed to the Madison Police Department regarding "any and all statistics, data, reports, audits, policies, and procedures pertaining to the following items regarding sexual assault evidence collection (SAEC) kits and processing:", which was followed by a series of bulletpoints with more detailed requests. Before answering your request, I must point out that MPD calls these kits either FNE kits or SANE kits. FNE is the current term used and stands for Forensic Nurse Examiner. SANE was the previous term used and stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Be aware that the use of these kits is not limited to sexual assault situations.

Below are those bulletpoints with my response below each one-

* All standard operating procedures regarding the SAEC process

The City of Madison Police Department has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Sexual Assault Investigations. A component of our SOP on Searches that addresses the procedure for doing a search on suspects for sexual assault evidence. Both of those SOP's are available on the internet at http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/documents/sop/SexualAssaultInvestigations.pdf and at http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/documents/sop/searches.pdf. The State of Wisconsin statutes, specifically Wis. Stat. 19.32(2) states that for the purpose of a public record release something is not a record to be released if it is available at a public library.

* 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.

I am attaching to this email pages 78-79 from the MPD Property Room Packaging Guide, which gives instructions to MPD personnel on how to property tag FNE/SANE kits (which is what we call SAEC kits). FNE stands for Forensic Nurse Examiner and is the title individuals conducting these exams are now referred to as. SANE is the former title and stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

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

Information on FNE/SANE kits is not indexed in our records management system, and as such there is no direct way to ascertain exactly how many of these were collected by MPD personnel and put into evidence. It would be unduly burdensome to look at the description for each of the over 280,000 pieces of evidence the Madison Police Department has property tagged since 2000. However, whenever property is entered into our property system the person doing so includes a description of the item. I checked numerous sexual assault cases over the years and came up with key words that seemed to include the various ways these kits have been described. A search was conducted for those key words in the property entry description field. After going through the results 2467 FNE/SANE kits were identified as being entered into the MPD Property system as evidence from January 1, 2000 through April 15, 2018. I'm confident at least that number of kits were entered into the system, but think it's likely the correct number is slightly higher due to their being described differently on occasion, or even misspelled. Clearly this is not a definitive number being provided but without looking at each evidentiary property entry there is no way to do so.

* 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.

This information is not indexed in our records management system. The standard practice is for investigators who submit such evidence to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for processing to create a report articulating that, which is put into the case file. When the results come back from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab the document provided indicating the results is also put into the case file. The documents for each case would need to be reviewed to determine whether a kit was sent for processing.

* 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.

Similar to the answer above, this information is not indexed in our records management system and without going into the documents of each case involving a FNE kit there is no way to know if it has been sent for processing by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. I must again note that these kits are not used solely for the purposes of evidence collection in sexual assault cases, but in any case where forensic evidence is recovered from a person. For those situations where a FNE kit was used and put into evidence pursuant to a sexual assault investigation, statutorily a FNE/SANE kit is required to be processed as defined by Wis. Stat. 175.405, titled "Sexual assault; evidence where no suspect has been identified". That statute requires such evidence be submitted to a crime laboratory if "the person who committed the alleged or suspected sexual assault has not been identified".

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

Attached to this response is a spreadsheet titled "FNE Kits 1-1-00 to 4-15-18", which gives the case number for every FNE/SANE kit identified that we collected and booked into evidence during that period. It also shows the status of the case. The Madison Police Department does not keep track in our records management system what the ultimate result is (i.e. whether there was a conviction or not) of a case where there was an arrest by MPD or referral for a charging decision by the Dane County District Attorneys Office. Also, the Madison Police Department changed our records management system near the end of 2012. When case data was merged from the old system to current one they were automatically given an open/active status. Many but not all of the closed cases from the old system have been changed from open/active to closed, which results in many cases being shown as open/active from 2012 earlier that actually are not.

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

I am attaching two spreadsheets that created as part of an audit by the Wisconsin Department of Justice into this question, titled Madison PD SAKI Inventory and Madison PD SAKI Inventory 2018.2. All FNE/SANE kits identified through that process as needing to be sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory have been. We have redacted information in the report that contains confidential juvenile material. Wis. Stat. 48.396 and 938.396 relating to peace officer's records of juveniles prohibit the release of such records except in certain circumstances. I have also redacted information in this report that would reveal highly personal and private information. It is my belief that disclosure of information would likely have a substantial adverse effect on reputations and privacy interests of individuals mentioned in the reports without any counterbalancing benefit to the public.

I have reached the above conclusion to redact portions of the record requested after weighing the reasons for non-disclosure against the public interest in disclosure. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 19.35(4)(b), I advise you that this determination not to disclose a portion of the requested record is subject to review by Mandamus under Wis. Stat. 19.37(1), or upon application to the Wisconsin Attorney General or the Dane County District Attorney.

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

Under the Wisconsin Public Records Laws, the type of document you are requesting does not fall under the definition of being a Record subject to release pursuant to a public records request (Wis. Stat. 19.32(2)).

Feel free to contact me with any further questions.

Lieutenant John Radovan
Records Custodian
City of Madison Police Department
(608) 266-6068

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