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JUNEAU— Former Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Michael Burkmire begins work as a sexual assault cold case investigator, Governor Walker announced last Wednesday, as the state’s Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory continues to shrink the number of backlogged sexual assault evidence kits.
Investigator Burkmire is a retired Alaska State Trooper Sergeant who oversaw the AST Child Abuse Unit in the Mat-Su Valley. He will be responsible for investigating sexual assault cold cases, working with backlogged kits as evidence. Investigator Burkmire’s position is possible thanks to a $1.1 million grant that the governor’s office secured through the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Hiring Sergeant Burkmire and reducing the sexual assault evidence backlog are the latest steps in building a Safer Alaska,” Governor Walker said. “Processing this evidence backlog is vital to ensuring justice for survivors of sexual assault.”
Thanks to advances in technology and streamlining lab workflow, the state reduced turnaround time for testing sexual assault kits by more than two-thirds — from 249 days to 89 days. The Crime Lab hopes to keep reducing that number.
“In a time of limited resources, the Crime Lab is continuing to make progress in testing sexual assault kits,” said Crime Detection Lab Chief Orin Dym. “Moving forward, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across the state to build on these improvements and serve Alaskans with integrity.”