AG Kaul Releases 2021 Annual Crime Lab Report
Despite impacts of COVID-19, crime labs well positioned for the future
MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today released the 2021 Annual Report for the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS) crime laboratories.
“The Wisconsin State Crime Lab is well positioned for the future,” said AG Kaul. “Despite the continued impacts of the pandemic, the DNA queue is declining and turnaround times in most areas compare favorably with those from around the country. In the next budget, I am hopeful that the legislature will agree to provide sufficient funding and position authority for the crime lab to build on this progress.”
2021 annual report:
- A review of the queue for DNA analysis over time shows that the trend of a declining queue has returned.
- The annual report now includes a comparison of Wisconsin’s median turnaround times to Project Foresight, an international crime lab comparison, which shows DFS labs are comparable or better than the international medians. More information about Project Foresight can be found here.
- New, enhanced services have been added including complete probabilistic genotyping, a new SoleMate® FPX database for footprint comparison and 100% verification of testing in two units.
- The Crime Scene Response Unit, created in 2019, has seen a significant increase in utilization by local law enforcement, ensuring more evidence is expertly handled throughout the process.
- The annual crime lab symposium had over 500 attendees from 6 states.
- The Submission Advisory Committee was created to facilitate feedback from DFS stakeholders on evidence submission guidelines.
- A critical influx of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding was provided to DFS by Governor Evers to assist in reducing turnaround time for cases while analysists are busy testifying at the many trials moving forward following court delays from the COVID-19 pandemic.
DFS was established as an independent division in 2019, though the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory was originally established in 1947. DFS employs approximately 185 people including forensic scientists, technicians, evidence specialists, and crime scene response professionals and offers impartial forensic analysis in the following areas of science: toxicology, drug identification, biology/DNA analysis, DNA database, trace evidence analysis, firearms examination, toolmark analysis, latent print examination, footwear analysis, ten print comparison, and forensic imaging and video analysis.
DFS crime laboratories—located in Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau—are the only full-service forensic science laboratory system in Wisconsin. DFS is not a diagnostic laboratory system; the circumstances of each case submitted to DFS are unique. The needs of the submitting agency, the type of crime and impact on public safety as well as court/trial demands are considered for each case.
DFS provides unbiased scientific testing and analysis of evidence for every community in Wisconsin and staffs on-call Crime Scene Response Units, located at each laboratory, to assist law enforcement at major crime scenes by processing the crime scene and maintaining evidence integrity.