Councilman: Untested rape kits - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilman: Untested rape kits not 'just a Memphis problem'

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Haslam was at the annual chairman's luncheon put on by the Memphis Chamber Tuesday. Haslam was at the annual chairman's luncheon put on by the Memphis Chamber Tuesday.
Haslam is unsure if there are any resources the state can allocate. Haslam is unsure if there are any resources the state can allocate.

(WMC-TV) - The city of Memphis is looking to the state for help regarding the thousands of untested rape kits.

The numbered of untested rape kits went up a week ago. The city has pledged to test them all, but paying for it may require finding money elsewhere.

"I am aware of the issue," said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

Haslam was at the annual chairman's luncheon put on by the Memphis Chamber Tuesday.

"I had a couple of city council folks actually here at the lunch ... [Asking] me to look into that," said Haslam.

Councilman Kemp Conrad and his colleague Harold Collins alerted Haslam to expect a proposal asking for help with some of that price tag.

"This is not just a Memphis problem. People who get raped could be living outside of Memphis now. Rapists don't stop at the city limits. So they cross jurisdictional lines. We want to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible, and we think it's only fair that the state also share some of that burden," said Conrad.

Haslam is unsure if there are any resources the state can allocate.

"We have a very difficult budget. I need to understand the situation more before I can comment on that," he said.

Conrad estimates the total cost at about $5 million. He says the city's only found the funds for about half and that the rest must come from somewhere else.

"We could take all of our kits and dump them on the TBI doorstep. That wouldn't be good, so the way to do it is us working together. We're sending these things out to labs that are helping with the serology with the DNA testing, but we are going to need more funds," said Conrad.

The city council expects to get another update from city hall about this issue in an executive session. That is on December 17.

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