Memphis approves funding to test rape kits

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis officials have approved funding to begin testing a backlog of rape kits, but not before City Council members questioned how the issue arose.

During a meeting Tuesday, council members added $500,000 to the police department's budget to pay for rape kit testing and committed $1 million to construct a new facility to house the kits.

The issue first came up last month when Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong asked the council to approve a $500,000 grant that would pay for 2,226 kits to be screened. At the time, he said there were at least another 8,000 kits that hadn't been tested.

Armstrong told the council on Tuesday that the kits have been stacking up since the 1980s, probably because of frequently changing policies and processes for handling evidence in rape cases.

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