Frontier Former Editor

September 9, 2008

Okay, Palin’s thinks she’s on a mission from God, but maybe the rape kit story is a tad overboard

My enthrallment with Sarah Palin has shown an unusually short half-life, but even I have to lean toward the truth when a scumbag might be getting a bum rap.

Case in point: Eric Schmeltzer, a writer for The Huffington Post, unloaded both barrels at Palin and the town of Wasilla, AK, for defying a state law requiring local law enforcement agencies to pay for rape evidence kits for physical exams.

As Schmeltzer would have us see the situation:

“While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.

“Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.”

What Smeltzer left out of his citings from The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman article of May 23, 2000, though, was:

“In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.
Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs, Fannon said.
The forensic exam is just one part of the equation. Id like to see the courts make these people pay restitution for these things, Fannon said.
Fannon said he intends to include the cost of exams required to collect evidence in a restitution request as a part of a criminals sentencing.”

Now, this doesn’t make the Wasilla PD or Palin look particularly nice, since Fannon obviously has a problem paying for basic law enforcement forensics equipment. And, by implication, Palin didn’t seem to have a problem with Fannon’s stance on this particular issue. But Fannon is expressing a just another iteration in a growing opinion among law enforcement.

But, yeah, Wasilla officials from that period look like a collective schmuck.


  1. You cannot charge a man suspected of a crime for fact finding that may or may not be used against him. He is responsible for his defense. Not his prosecution.

    All of society, in this particular society, pays to maintain the judicial system in the form of taxes. To then say, Oh I have better things to do with the tax money so I will figure out a way to charge the victims and the accused for the cost of basic forensic investigations is ludicrous. It should also not be the burden of insurance companies which, while they are certainly not angelic agencies of mercy, will, if this becomes the norm, start charging women even more for health insurance because “women could be raped” which is a scary thought in and of itself, and also because what is that going to end up becoming? Law enforcement officers sitting on hold waiting for insurance claims adjusters to okay a rape exam? “I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith, it appears forensic evidence finding is not covered by your policy we will not be investigating your brutal attack and rape today”?

    Excuse me I have to stop typing now.

    Comment by max — September 9, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  2. I was hoping someone would make the connection. Our jail system is fast edging toward the Turkish system where a prisoner’s family and friends are responsible for his or her upkeep.
    Don’t think that I agree with Fannon’s wailing about the cost of rape kits. While I sympathize with the budgetary issues to a point, but police have the responsibility to uphold the law against those who don’t. If rape kits cost so much, cut back on things like gas money spent driving emergency vehicles in parades. Cut back on unnecessary PR gimmicks. Spend the money on the mission.
    And if we complain about spending tax money on police protection, then we as a society need to look at our responsibilities for what has caused certain types of crime. Man is going to commit crimes no matter what, but we also create the conditions in which various types of crime either flourish or wither.

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — September 10, 2008 @ 3:55 am

  3. As far as insurance companies charging women more, that would be the time to remind men that they can be raped too. Or have people stopped renting “Deliverance” and “Shawshank Redemption”?

    Comment by sledpress — September 10, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  4. On a side note, does insurance in general still fail to cover birth control yet they’ve got no qualms about paying for the Little Blue Pill?

    Comment by Stiletto — September 15, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  5. ‘Our jail system is fast edging toward the Turkish system’

    Another side note. Midnight Express. Only God knows why, but another favorite movie.

    Comment by Stiletto — September 15, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

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