Schuette: 1,819 untested rape kits outside Wayne County
Lansing — The problem of untested sexual assault kits in Michigan is not just a Wayne County problem. There are 1,819 such kits belonging to policing agencies around the state, not including Michigan’s largest county.
On Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue announced plans to test those untested kits and, when evidence merits, investigate and prosecute suspects identified with them.
In September, Schuette and Etue began a survey of sexual assault kit testing needs in Michigan’s other 82 counties. The testing effort will cost about $1.7 million, a combination of money granted by the Michigan Legislature and grants awarded to Michigan State Police, Schuette’s office said.
“Experience shows that testing every kit helps law enforcement solve crimes and stop serial rapists,” Schuette said.
Locally, none of the untested kits belongs to any policing agency in Oakland County, Michigan’s second largest county by population, which posted zeroes across the board. Only 27 of them belonged to policing agencies in Macomb County, Michigan’s third largest — 13 to Chesterfield police, 14 to Sterling Heights police.
Washtenaw County policing agencies had 95 of the 1,819 kits — 65 from Ann Arbor, 30 from Ypsilanti.
In Kent County, more than 250 kits remained untested, 199 belonging to Grand Rapids police, 62 to the Kent Sheriff’s Office, in addition to 15 others belonging to three other policing agencies: Grandville (7), Kentwood (7), and Lowell (1).
Kalamazoo county policing agencies were responsible for 184 of the untested kits. Kalamazoo’s department of public safety had 113, while Western Michigan University police had 40. The others were Portage police (16), Galesburg police (1), Kalamazoo township police (7), and Schoolcraft police (4).
Jackson County, just west of Washtenaw, was responsible for 71 kits — 63 from Jackson police, 7 from the county sheriff’s office, and one from Spring Arbor Township police.
Ingham County, home to Michigan’s state capital of Lansing, accounted for 87 of the kits. Forty of the kits belong to Lansing police, 24 to Mason police, 14 to Meridian police, 4 to Lansing Township police, and 5 to Michigan State University police.
Genesee County, where Flint is located, was responsible for 19 percent of the untested kits, 349 of the 1,819. Some 261 of them belong to the Flint Police Department, 30 to Flint township police, 30 to Grand Blanc police, 10 to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, 6 to Mount Morris police, 5 to Fenton police, 4 to Burton Police, 2 to Montrose Township police and 1 to the Davison Police Department.
Calhoun County policing agencies were responsible for 17 percent of the untested kits. Battle Creek police department had 239, along with 25 from Marshall police, 20 from the Albion department of public safety, 14 from the Springfield Department of Public Safety, and 9 from the county sheriff’s office.
In September, Michigan State Police completed testing on more than 10,000 untested sexual assault kits in Wayne County, an effort that stretched back to 2009 and drew the attention of private donors and an actor on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, who raised awareness.