Idaho agencies begin training on new Sexual Assault Kit tracking system

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Idaho State Police launched their Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System this week. On Thursday they began training representatives from local agencies.

ISP developed the tracking system and will be training Idaho law enforcement agencies, medical professionals and prosecutors on it.

"What the kit tracking system does is it allows us to track the data and the decision making in its full process," said Matthew Gamette, the laboratory systems director for ISP.

Thursday was the first training on the system. The system tracks kits as they are collected. They are assigned a serial number that a victim can search for to see updates.

Once it is in the system, law enforcement agencies can send it to a medical processor to be tested, they can then tell the agency when they have done this and it is ready to be picked up. From there the agency can send it to the ISP lab who processes it and can send it back to the agency for storage.

The victim can track the kit every step of the way.

"The intent of our web programmers was to develop something that was very user friendly, had a simple user interface, that the public would be able to see what they needed to see easily," Gamette said.

If a law enforcement agency decided not to test a kit the reason needs to be listed. If they decide that it needs to be within 30 days of collecting it. It can be one of three reasons according to the state legislature.

"If there is no evidence to support a crime being committed, when it is no longer being investigated as a crime or when an adult victim expressly indicates that no further forensic examination or testing occur," according to Idaho Code Chapter 29, Title 67, Section 67-2919.

If a kit is not tested for one of those reasons it is sent to the prosecutor who either approves or disapproves of that reason on the website.

"Ultimately the prosecutor has the final decision at that point whether to send the kit to the state lab to be tested or not," Gamette said.

The system also allows ISP to keep track of the data around the kits. They can report that to the legislator and victims can see what is going on with their kit. It was developed after legislators decided they wanted a more streamlined process for these kits.

"All of these things I think are a good thing for the state of Idaho and I really think Idaho is leading the way in tracking these and developing software and getting that software implemented," Gamette said.

After kits are submitted for testing ISP has 90 days to process them. As far as how long to keep the kits before destroying that, there is no statewide mandate on that. Yet. Right now Gamette says it is on a case to case basis and the laws in the city or county dictate that. He says it might not be long before there is a uniform law on that though.

"I do think the legislature has become aware of a need that law enforcement has to have a more definite answer on how long kits need to be retained," Gamette said.

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