A Memphis Police officer demonstrates the accordion-style doors at the new storage facility.
Beginning tomorrow, the city's backlogged rape kits will be moved into a new, $1 million dedicated storage facility on Klinke Avenue in North Memphis.
The new, 900-square-foot, climate-controlled facility was unveiled in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. The facility is designed to store 50,400 rape kits. It has four sub-zero freezers for storing temperature-sensitive material. There's also a special "drying room" for articles that have been exposed to bodily fluids.
Planning for the facility began back in August 2013 after the Memphis City Council approved funding for storing DNA evidence collected in rape cases.
"The kits stored here are more than just inanimate objects. These kits represent traumatized, victimized people and must be handled with care," said Mayor A C Wharton. "This allows the space to do just that."
Doug McGowan, coordinator for the Memphis Sexual Assault Kit Task Force, said 43 percent of the backlogged rape kits have completed analysis, and 23 percent are at a lab awaiting analysis. He said all of the kits should be at the lab within the next 12 months.