December 10, 2021

Cortez Masto Announces $1.1 Million to Help Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Quickly Process Sexual Assault Kits and Other Forensic Evidence

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that $1,183,001 would be coming to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) to help the department speed up processing of DNA forensic tests, including rape kits and DNA and fingerprint evidence collected at crime scenes. The LVMPD currently has a backlog of DNA evidence kits and will use this funding from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide overtime pay for their forensic scientists and increase lab capacity, so they can continue processing key DNA analysis in a timely manner.

“This grant will help the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department quickly and efficiently process key forensic tests, including sexual assault kits and DNA evidence left at crime scenes,” said Cortez Masto. “I am committed to ensuring that our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to protect all Nevadans.”

The LVMPD will receive $933,421 to help the department speed up processing of DNA forensic tests, including rape kits and DNA collected at crime scenes. It will also receive in additional $249,580 to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to help process DNA and fingerprint evidence.

Senator Cortez Masto has advocated for robust funding for police departments in Nevada and teamed up with Senator Grassley to call for full funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program that is the leading source of criminal justice funding for state, local, and tribal governments. She’s also been a fierce defender of sexual assault survivors. She supported the Debbie Smith Act of 2019 to reauthorize funding for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program and give much-needed resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to complete forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits. She has also introduced the Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors Act, which would require state programs to allow victims to file for compensation without being unfairly penalized for delays due to rape kit backlogs.