As the scandal surrounding the Houston Police Department suspending hundreds of thousands of cases for “lack of personnel” worsens, new information is coming out that as formerly suspended cases are being tested, some DNA hits are coming back.

After the revelation that 264,000 incident reports went uninvestigated, the Houston Police Department assigned additional officers to go through the cases and pursue leads. Of those, 4,017 were adult sexual assault crime incident reports and so far they have tested 1,147 sexual assault incident reports that came back with DNA. Seventy-six of those tested resulted in hits in the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS. This means that the DNA found in these kits is directly tied to a perpetrator’s DNA found in a separate case or a known sex offender. 

“Sexual assault incident reports remain a top priority. The review team originally identified 4,017 adult sex crime incident reports. As part of the review, HPD proactively initiated a meeting with the Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC) and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office with two goals. One was to request a second level of review. The other was to build a better workflow process between our agencies to properly address incident-related CODIS hits. A CODIS hit means that the DNA profile from the sexual assault kit matches the DNA profile from a separate criminal offense or a known offender,” HPD said in a statement released on Monday. 

Since the revelation that HPD staff was suspending incident reports for “lack of personnel,” two assistant chiefs in the department were demoted and Mayor John Whitmire created an outside review committee to act as another set of eyes and assist in reviewing suspended cases. 

Police Chief Troy Finner says he will have a press conference focusing on the rape kits later in the week and the department expects to have the initial review of all cases done by the end of the month. 

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.