The Partners in the Sexual Assault Kit Project

Sidebar to the article New Orleans Sexual Assault Evidence Project: Results and Recommendations by Nancy Ritter

Several partners worked together on the New Orleans sexual assault kit (SAK) project:

  • The Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) agreed to:
    • Test 720 SAKs that had been collected prior to January 1, 2011.
    • Assist the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory in validating a new DNA testing procedure.
    • Provide specialized DNA training to New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory personnel.
  • The Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory served as the conduit for transferring SAKs between NOPD and MUFSC, and the lab:
    • Analyzed (either in-house or through a contract vendor lab) all SAKs from New Orleans that were collected after January 1, 2011.
    • Reviewed DNA profiles generated by MUFSC and uploaded eligible DNA profiles to CODIS.
    • Searched CODIS for hits and provided investigative leads to the police department's Sex Crimes Unit.
    • Trained two DNA analysts.
  • NOPD established a system to ensure that all evidence from each case was present at the time of submission, that the case had not been previously adjudicated, that the statute of limitations had not expired, and that the evidence was not from a case that the victim did not want law enforcement to pursue. NOPD also performed follow-up police investigations after CODIS hits.
  • NIJ provided:
    • Overall project management.
    • Additional assistance through its own technical expertise or through existing partnerships and cooperative agreements, including training NOPD and Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory staff and assisting in managing the CODIS hits with a software application called CHOP (CODIS Hit Outcome Project).

Back to: New Orleans Sexual Assault Evidence Project: Results and Recommendations.