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MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) released today an internal review of the State Crime Laboratory's resources for DNA analysis. DOJ's report concludes that the State Crime Laboratory would need 37 new DNA-related staff positions to eliminate the DNA backlog by 2010 if those positions were provided for as part of the normal budget process. DOJ's report concludes, however, that only 31 new positions would be needed if a special appropriation were passed to enable DOJ to fill the positions by July 1, 2007.
"Timely processing of DNA evidence is a fundamental law enforcement tool," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "It enhances public safety and security. It helps identify suspects, convict offenders and take them off the streets, and exonerate the innocent."
"The DNA backlog is unacceptable, and must be urgently addressed," Van Hollen added. "DOJ is doing its part to improve efficiencies and work with law enforcement to control submissions without jeopardizing public safety and security. But efficiencies alone cannot solve this problem. The DOJ report released today details the resources that are needed to eliminate a backlog that has been allowed to grow for far too long. The longer the backlog is unaddressed, the worse the situation becomes. I am committed to working with DOJ staff at the crime lab, local law enforcement and prosecutors, the legislature, and the governor to ensure that government at all levels is doing its best to protect the citizens of Wisconsin from crime."
In 2006, the State Crime Laboratory received 2,226 DNA cases for processing from law enforcement, yet was only able to complete 1,152 cases. At the close of 2006, 1,785 DNA cases were unprocessed. In the absence of a special appropriation, DOJ projects the backlog will grow by over 1,000 cases in 2007.
The State Crime Laboratory is located within the Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement Services. By statute, the State Crime Laboratory is required to analyze all DNA samples related to felony investigations submitted by a sheriff, coroner, medical examiner, district attorney, chief of police, warden or superintendent of any state prison, attorney general or governor. The State Crime Laboratory is also required to process DNA evidence if requested by a defense attorney pursuant to a court order.
Document: Crime Lab Resources Review [PDF]