New York State's Criminal Justice Services Division has released a report, indicating how many untested sexual assault evidence kits were in the hands of police departments. But as part of that report, the division identifies numerous police agencies that did not submit any numbers by a late February deadline. Buffalo, according to the report, was one of them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last year setting guidelines for timely testing of rape evidence kits. Under that legislation, police agencies have until the end of next month to turn in any backlog of untested kits.
The Criminal Justice Services report (click here for the full document) claims more than 16-hundred kits still awaited testing as of the end of February. The Town of Amherst, for example, is listed as having 20 untested kits still in police possession.
Many police departments, though, including Buffalo, City of Tonawanda and Cheektowaga, are listed as "DNR." Although the state report considers Buffalo's numbers unavailable, local police insist they are not lagging behind.
"The Buffalo Police Department currently does not have a backlog of any rape kits that need to be tested," said Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo. "We work very well with our Erie County Crime Lab and we're not waiting for any results in any rape kits."
The commissioner of Erie County Central Police Services was unavailable for comment Monday, but a county spokesman backed Buffalo Police claims.
Numerous police departments east of Buffalo are also listed as "DNR" on the state report, including Ithaca, Syracuse and New York City.
The Criminal Justice Services Division is attempting to collect information from agencies that have yet to report their numbers by the end of this month, in order to issue an update.