SPOKANE, Wash. -- Federal grant money is now being used to test thousands of rape kits in Washington meaning a sizable backlog could soon be cut way down.
As of Monday, there were 371 untested rape kits in Spokane County and that grant money will help those victims get justice.
The Department of Justice recently awarded Washington State Patrol $1.6 million to start examining untested rape kits across the state. As part of the funding, WSP would no longer be solely in charge for testing those kits. Instead, they would be sent to a contracted company for testing. Once complete, those tests would then be sent to WSP for verification. The goal is to ease the load off WSP and to speed up the testing process.
"Whether that justice is finding people who committed these crimes or exonerating people who need to be exonerated. We like to see justice carried out," WSP Public Information Officer Kyle Moore said.
WSP will soon have several new scientists on its staff. All of whom will be tasked with examining rape kits. WSP leaders said those scientists were hired two years ago. Training and education caused them not to work immediately, but now six of the seven hires are proficient and ready to go.
Once testing ramps up, WSP leaders said they expect to see that many of the same suspects to pop up. The goal is to nab those repeat offenders and get them off our streets once and for all.