Fw: VPOTUS travel pool report #4 -- tour at ME offie

From: Shear, Michael [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 12:53 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP; Spector, Stephen I. EOP; Barkoff, Kendra A. EOP
Subject: VPOTUS travel pool report #4 -- tour at ME offie

(delayed because of connection issues)

VPOTUS was led just after 12:15 into a small laboratory that does rape-kit analysis in the medical examiner's office with stations set up at several tables. Scientists, wearing purple gloves and hairnets, were at each station and taked to VPOTUS as he went to each station.

VPOTUS was accompanied by Loretta Lynch, the United States attorney general, as well as Mariska Hargitay, the actress who plays the lead detective on the hit show, Law and Order SVU, and Cyrus, Vance, the DA for NYC. The tour was led by Dr. Barbara Simpson, the chief medical examiner in NYC.

At the first station, Ms. Simpson explained about the lab and noted that NYC is one of the few jurisdictions to have worked through its backlog of rape kits and no longer has one. She noted that is due to the work of about 160 employees who work in the lab.

"That's impressive," VPOTUS said.

At another station, VPOTUS asked one of the scientists whether it is common that they receive a rape kit from a hospital or an investigator that was not assembled properly.

The scientist said its important that people are trained properly in collecting the evidence of a possible rape, but said that most of the time, they don't see problems like that.

"How often do you get a kit where there simply isn't enough information?" VPOTUS asked.

"I don't think that happens very often," the scientist answered.

At another station, VPOTUS introduced himself to a scientist, asking her name (which your pooler couldn't hear) and then offered: "Nice to meet you. I'm Joe Biden."

At another station, scientists showed a red shirt with white strips as an example of the kind of clothing they would examine to see if it has biological evidence of a rape. VPOTUS asked how they determine that, "other than visually?"

"We actually can look at it underneath an alternative light source," the scientist said.

At the final station, Ms. Simpson explained the use of a complex DNA testing machine, saying they "quantify the DNA," then send it to a PCR machine to "amplify the DNA millions of times" and then send the results to a "genetic analyzer" to separate the pieces of DNA and make an identification.

VPOTUS asked whether the machines are expensive and require training, and indicated that one of the problems is that some communities can't afford a machine like that.

"This is something that the federal government should be funding, or at least doing matching funds," VPOTUS said.

We are now in an auditorium for the open press announcements by VPOTUS and the others about grants to test more rape kits.


Michael D. Shear
White House Correspondent
The New York Times

Show Comments