September 3, 2013

State Senator Mark Norris finds it disturbing that there are 7,000 back logged rape kits that haven’t been tested in Memphis, as well as 1,500 backlogged rape kits the Memphis Police Department sent for testing in 2010.

He wondered how far the problem goes.

“I want to know if this is just a Memphis situation or if it’s a Knoxville or Chattanooga situation,” he said.

State officials need to know how much money is needed to pay for the basic serology tests, and then a full DNA profile, which costs extra.

“From where I sit as a state legislator we have to begin at the beginning and try to quantify the full scope of the issue here,” Norris said.

Norris and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton want both tests done so the evidence to be compared to DNA in a federal database.

“We know there may be some folks responsible for certain crime who are out there, still on the loose because there hasn’t been a match and there may be a match,” Wharton said. “We can’t guarantee that. but hey, the best thing to do is test and see.”

” That’s something I’m sure we’ll discuss in committee whether untested should mean untested just as to DNA or as to both,” Norris said.

He says state lawmakers need to understand why full DNA profiles aren’t being done.

“We’ll need some testimony from law enforcement why they make that distinction now and why sometimes they stop at serology and don’t go further with the full DNA, Norris said.

Wharton wants to move beyond who’s to blame and just get the problem solved.

“The key thing is to find out what happened and make sure it does not happens again,” he said.

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