In 2015, the Mobile Police Department applied for and received a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grant from the U. S. Department of Justice. The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) funding supports the jurisdictional reform of approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in sexual assault kits (SAKs) that have not been tested under current DNA technology. Additional SAKI Grants awarded to MPD in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 furthered this mission creating a successful Special Victims Unit.
The reasons behind the backlog were complex. Un-submitted SAKs can be attributed to many factors, including poor evidence tracking, outdated and ineffective investigation practices, lack of resources and personnel, misunderstanding of crime lab case acceptance policies, and lack of understanding among law enforcement personnel about the value of testing SAKs. Resolving these issues was critical to providing justice for victims and preventing such a backlog in the future.
The Mobile Police Department has worked with the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office and Lifelines Counseling Services/The Rape Crisis Center to create victim–centered and trauma-informed policies and procedures to address the handling of sexual assault kits. Together, we have created The Promise Initiative, a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases through:
The Promise Initiative is critical to enhancing the criminal justice response to sexual assault and ensuring justice for victims. The Promise Initiative will not only help link victims to advocates and needed services, but also help implement best practices and comprehensive reform to help bring perpetrators to justice and increase safety in our community by preventing future sexual assaults.
If you would like more information on The Promise Initiative or feel that you may have an untested sexual assault kit at the Mobile Police Department, please call The Promise Initiative at (251) 431-5100 Ext. 270.