Panel Calls for Funding to Speed DNA Processing
In California, the state has concluded that the state’s crime labs are encountering significant delays in DNA processing, and that the state crime lab in Richmond needs emergency funding to hire more technicians.
The lab now has a backlog of 150,000 samples from convicted felons, as mandated by a 2004 law requiring that the state’s DNA database be greatly broadened. The lab also processes crime scene findings for cities and counties.
In Santa Clara County, the crime lab says it processes most DNA samples within 60 days or less, and that especially urgent cases can be completed within two or three days.
Officials in Oakland say its lab, operated by the city’s police department, analyzed just a third of the samples from rape probes in the city in 2005.
“Most laboratories are not adequately staffed to provide timely information on investigative level cases,” according to Thomas Nasser, director of Orange County’s crime lab and president of a statewide organization for crime lab chiefs.
The commission, which has been assessing several criminal justice issues for the California Legislature, also wants the new Attorney General Jerry Brown to search for solutions at the state and local levels.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Justice has failed to keep pace in creating a statewide database designed to compare DNA samples with those already in the state database.
In 2009, state law will require that DNA samples be taken from anyone who is arrested or charged with a felony offense.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from Inside Bay Area (CA); 02/26/07; Bailey, Brandon.