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Thursday November 26, 2020 Salt Lake City, UT

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Press Release

Protecting Utah

Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab Biology Team Receives Governor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service

Tuesday November 3, 2020
Image shows members of the state crime lab posing together behind the crime lab.

The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) Crime Lab’s Biology Team was nominated for and received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service. 

The Governor’s Award for Excellence provides an opportunity for state employees to be recognized for outstanding public service and achievements that display dedication to the citizens of Utah.

This talented and dedicated team of individuals utilized their extensive knowledge, implemented state-of-the-art technology, and re-designed workflows to help bring resolution to a sexual assault kit backlog crisis that is facing the nation. 

In July 2019, this team set out to not only complete processing of the existing current case backlog of over 1,900 sexual assault kits in the state by July 2020, but to also process through all incoming kits submitted during the year. 

When the emergence of COVID-19 threatened their ability to continue, this team again used their ingenuity to find a way forward. 

They reached their goal and will completed testing of over 3,100 sexual assault kits during the last 12 months.  

Additionally, this team worked collaboratively with partners at the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to process through a backlog of over 5,000 sexual assault kits that were previously unsubmitted, untested or partially tested prior to 2015. 

The DPS Crime Lab’s Biology Team completed those kits in August 2020.

Thanks to the efforts of the DPS Crime Lab’s Biology Team, and those of victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecution, and other valuable partners, Utah became one of only a handful of states in the country to have completed testing of all backlogged sexual assault kits.

Read more about the elimination of the sexual assault kit backlog here: https://dpsnews.utah.gov/utah-announces-elimination-of-sexual-assault-kit-backlog-2/

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MEDIA CONTACT

Nick Street
DPS Public Affairs Director
Department of Public Safety
NSTREET@UTAH.GOV

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