The California Attorney General's Office is getting national recognition for its efforts to improve the DNA analysis of rape kits by law enforcement agencies.
The agency's Rapid DNA Service Team is receiving the United States Department of Justice's Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services. The award will be granted during the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Awards ceremony on April 9 in Washington, D.C.
The Rapid DNA Service Team, part of the Attorney General's Bureau of Forensic Services, developed a program in 2011 that improves the traditional process by which rape kits are tested and reduces the processing time to within 15 days. The program currently operates in eight of the state's counties -Butte, Lake, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
In her first year in office, Attorney General Kamala Harris eliminated a long standing backlog of untested rape kits in state-run labs, which included 1,300 DNA cases. In January 2012, she announced that for the first time ever, the backlog of untested DNA evidence in state labs had been eliminated.