Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.
In April, District Attorney Vance released a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting grant applications for the $35 million initiative.
Awards amounting up to $2 million will be granted for up to a two-year period. States, territories, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and public forensic labs may all apply for funding. Applicants will be required to demonstrate a coordinated strategy that includes collaboration among police, prosecutors, labs, victim services, and local government. Applicants will be asked to submit information about the size and scope of their untested kits, their current testing policies, and their willingness to follow best practices determined by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and its partners. Jurisdictions are encouraged to apply for funding, even if the total scope of their backlog remains unknown.
Completed applications are due by June 1, 2015 at 5 pm EST. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will host an informational webinar on April 20, 2015 to provide further information about the program.
Email DNAbacklog@dany.nyc.gov with any questions or comments.
About the Rape Kit Backlog:
In the late 1990s, there were approximately 17,000 untested rape kits in New York City, representing thousands of unsolved cases, and thousands of victims waiting months, years, even decades, for justice. For the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the backlog was unacceptable. The Office’s Sex Crimes Unit – the first of its kind in the nation – led an initiative to test every rape kit in the City’s custody. Clearing the backlog enabled the Office to file 49 indictments based on DNA cold case hits. Combined, those offenders are now serving more than 900 years in jail.
Now, the District Attorney’s Office is helping other cities across the United States do the same, pledging as much as $35 million in funding to help eliminate rape kit backlogs nationwide. The Office plans to fund the testing of backlogged rape kits, audit the scope of jurisdictions’ backlogs, create data- and information-sharing systems, and ensure that individual jurisdictions adhere to best practices for the testing and use of rape kit evidence. The funding being allocated by the District Attorney’s Office is the result of sanctions cases, including its share of approximately $440 million of the $8.83 billion settlement reached in June 2014 with BNP Paribas S.A. (BNPP) – the largest bank in France – for violating U.S. sanctions.
Read more about our committment: