Earlier this month, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law new rules for the collection, storage and analysis of Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERK). These kits are utilized in evidence recovery for the investigation of sexual assault cases. When a PERK requires testing to identify a suspect and/or prosecution of a case, it is promptly sent to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for testing and analysis. In many jurisdictions, a number of untested PERKs remain in possession of the property and evidence units, sometimes for extended periods of time. There are several reasons that we have untested kits remaining our custody, some of which include: the criminal complaint being deemed unfounded, the criminal complaint was determined to be a false report, consent or a confession obtained in the case resulting in the PERK not being needed for criminal prosecution, the victim declined to prosecute, or the submission of an anonymous PERK with no follow-up information available. We have no untested kits on file that are needed in the prosecution or investigation of a criminal case.
Additionally, kits are required to be maintained for two years. Since there is no statute of limitations on prosecuting for rape, many of our untested kits date back many more years, should the prosecution of an inactive case become possible through victim interest in prosecuting.
Our Criminal Investigations Bureau is charged with investigative responsibility on these important cases and support legislative initiatives to improve efforts for all victims of these horrible crimes. Detectives work very closely with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County to ensure all needed PERKs are submitted to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science in a timely manner for proper testing and analysis. In addition, the Victim Services Section of the department is tasked with reducing the impact of crime by meeting the financial, physical and psychological needs of victims of sexual assault in a compassionate, responsive, and dedicated manner.
Your Fairfax County Police Department is committed to vigorous investigation of all sexual assault cases and pursuing justice for victims of these crimes. For more information regarding PERK kits see: http://www.dfs.virginia.gov/field-test-kits/about/perk-inventory-faqs/