State Police Announce Specialized Unit for Rape Kit Processing
NORTHVILLE. The Michigan State Police (MSP) is pleased to announce the creation of a specialized laboratory unit at its Northville Forensic Science Laboratory that will focus on the processing of criminal sexual assault kits from the metropolitan Detroit area.
The new unit, which will include a team of DNA experts, is expected to be operational early this summer.
"Sexual assaults are one of the most traumatic crimes committed," stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. "We are creating this new specialized unit because we need to ensure we are doing all we can to be quick and comprehensive in our response to these crimes."
MSP Director of Forensic Science, John Collins, explains that sexual assault kits are also one of the most unique and complex types of evidence submitted to the MSP laboratories.
"Evidence items contained in these kits are collected directly from traumatized victims in a medical environment," Collins stated. "It's not good enough for our laboratories to be experts at testing rape kits; we need to fully understand and appreciate every nuance and detail that can possibly bring offenders to justice."
Collins believes this can be accomplished through specialization, which will also produce efficiencies in the laboratory environment.
He added, "There are some emerging technologies and methods that will accelerate the production of this unit in the coming months and years."
Since 2009, the MSP has been assisting the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office with their efforts to improve the overall response to sexual assaults. The MSP's new Sexual Assault Response Unit will play an important role in this effort by facilitating unprecedented communication between laboratory staff and the specially trained sexual assault nurses who collect evidence from victims.
Sexual assault kits are processed by the Michigan State Police laboratories for all law enforcement agencies throughout Michigan. The new unit in Northville will assist in managing the high volume of cases originating in Southeastern Michigan. The benefits of this improved efficiency are expected to have positive implications for all sexual assault victims in Michigan.