Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced $200,000 would be coming to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to help the department speed up processing of DNA forensic tests, including rape kits and DNA evidence collected at crime scenes. In 2019, Senator Cortez Masto helped pass legislation to reauthorize funding essential to clearing the country’s sexual assault kit backlog, and in February of this year, Northern Nevada announced that it had cleared its backlog. This funding from the Department of Justice (DOJ) will ensure that the Washoe County Forensic Science Department can continue processing key DNA analysis in a timely manner
“This grant will help the Washoe County Sheriff’s department quickly and efficiently process key forensic tests, including sexual assault kits” said Cortez Masto. “I will always advocate in Congress for funding that gives our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to protect victims.”
Senator Cortez Masto has 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.