DPS Finds New Way to Fund Testing of Rape Kits
WESLACO – The Texas Department of Public Safety is trying out a new way to raise money to fund thousands of backlogged rape kits across the state.
They're now crowdsourcing donations to pay for it all.
It starts when you apply for or renew your state driver’s license, identification card or commercial driver’s license.
The new program began early January. DPS says all funds collected will go to the Sexual Assault Evidence Testing Grant Program, part of House Bill 1729.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS asked the agency how many backlogged cases need to be paid for, but they couldn’t give us a number.
They told us in an email they don’t track all sexual assault kits at government-operated labs and added there are several non-DPS-government operated labs that also offer DNA testing.
The state agency says sexual assault kits are continuously being submitted and analyzed.
We also reached out to State Rep. Victoria Neave’s office, who sponsored House Bill 1729.They tell us right now, in Texas, there’s upwards of 5,000 rape kits somewhere in the process of being tested.
They explain these kits could cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 to test, depending on the lab and the amount of evidence.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS asked people getting their licenses today if they pay attention to the part of the application that asks them to donate money.
“It depends because today I kind of want to get it done with but I might skim over it as well,” explains Luis Segoviano, who’s getting a new one after misplacing his ID.
Segoviano told us he sees no problem in having the donation request on the application.
DPS says since the program began earlier this month, they’ve already received more than 8,900 donations totaling nearly $25,000.