Police Not Complying With Executive Order To Audit Rape Kits

Friday, January 19th 2018, 6:42 pm

Governor Mary Fallin says only about half of the police departments in the state have complied with her executive order to do an inventory of their rape kits. That means potentially thousands of rapists could be walking around free.

Back in April, the governor issued an executive order requiring police departments to go through their evidence rooms and submit their findings to the attorney general's office by December 31, 2017. The concern is that thousands of rape kits sit untested while rapists remain free. Only about half of police and sheriff departments are cooperating.

“That's not enough.” Governor Fallin said. “We need to do better and I think everybody's certainly willing to step up and do it but we need to finish the job."

Governor Fallin isn’t happy with the lack of cooperation she is getting from law enforcement. And neither are victims of rape.

“The most frustrating thing is the message we're sending by not complying with that executive order,“ said rape survivor Danielle Tudor, “and that message is this. 'We don't really care. You know, it's not important.'”

The El Reno Police Department is one on the list. A lieutenant here says he dropped the ball. He says he compiled the information but just forgot to send it out. The Tulsa Police Department is the largest department in the state to fail to cooperate.

“For us, to do that, to comply with this unfunded mandate, it's just a lot of money,” said Sgt. Jillian Phippen of the Tulsa Police Department, “We're already putting my sex crimes detectives back into the field to work patrol positions, so it's not like we just have extra individuals that can stop what they're doing and then complete this audit.”

Tudor says that’s not acceptable.

“What is says to me as a rape survivor and unfortunately what it says to future sexual assault victims is, 'Is it worth it to report it? Is it worth it to have that rape kit done because I have no guarantee that my evidence will even be used in my case.'”

The governor is giving police until February 15th to comply.