Maryland’s state police superintendent has acknowledged that the department has failed to collect DNA samples from thousands of felons, wasted more than $100,000 on ineffective hand-held computers, and failed to adequately monitor the drugs and money it collected as evidence, the Baltimore Sun reports. Col. Thomas E. “Tim” Hutchins, testifying before a legislative panel, agreed with nearly all the findings in a legislative audit and said he is well on the way to finding solutions. The report also said the state police didn’t properly monitor firearms dealers, failed to properly manage finances and didn’t make sure that protective orders were entered into a statewide database.
Since the auditors completed their report, the backlog of uncollected DNA samples increased from 8,300 to more than 9,600. Hutchins said he has assigned more staff to collection efforts, is requesting proposals for private firms to analyze the samples and plans to work more closely with local jurisdictions and the state Department of Corrections to catch up and keep pace with new felons as they enter the criminal justice system. He said the department is seeking grant money to pay for the effort, but he had no timeline yet for when it will catch up. Other problems were easier to fix. The department has installed surveillance cameras in its evidence room to make sure drugs or money aren’t removed and will test more samples of drugs before they are destroyed to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.