FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky State Police is getting more tools in the fight to seek justice for sexual assault victims. With federal funding, KSP is creating the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) investigative team.
The team includes a squad of three trained investigators and a criminal intelligence analyst who will be transitioning from the attorney general's office to KSP.
Officials say by accessing KSP's statewide jurisdiction, the SAKI investigative team will be able to maximize resources and provide victim-centered help.
"Victims of violent crime have faced horrific events that most of us cannot imagine, and it's imperative as a state that we are equipped with the resources needed to transform the lives of these survivors," said Governor Andy Beshear.
Gov. Beshear also ceremoniously signed House Bill 310 and was joined by key lawmakers from both chambers.
Senator Morgan McGarvey explained HB 310, and how it closes a legal loophole.
"House Bill 310, it paves over a crack in the system that said if you're incompetent to stand trial and you won't respond to treatment, then there's nothing we can do. What this does is it puts another layer in there. It says if you are incompetent and you won't respond to treatment, then there's a separate proceeding to see, one, if there is enough evidence that you may have committed a crime, and, two, if there is enough evidence, are you a danger to yourself or other people so that we can continue to give you treatment. If that's the verdict, that you get that involuntary commitment because you're a danger to yourself or others, you have the right of appeal at any time. You have a guardian ad litem, you have a public defender appointed to you. And if you are responding to treatment and you are in a spot that you can be either tried because you're competent or you can be released to be on your own, then that can happen at a later date. But it only happens with court supervision and once treatment's involved," said Sen. Morgan McGarvey, (D) Louisville.
"The final product that this governor signed into law, it was the best culmination of a law that will really keep the citizens of Kentucky safe," said Senator Julie Raque Adams, (R) Louisville.
"Let's not forget, while we're standing here, we have all these cameras and microphones, Kentuckians are safer today because people can be safely put away. And so are the individuals who have committed these acts. They're safer for themselves. The governor said it not only protects the community, but protects the individual because their a harm to themselves," said Representative Jason Nemes, (R) Louisville.
"I really hope this bill sets a precedent in showing to put politics aside and help the people of Kentucky," said Representative Samara Heavrin, (R) Leitchfield.