After all the stories about delays in states’ completing DNA evidence analyses, here is a good-news story: Four years ago, nearly 2,000 DNA cases were waiting to be analyzed in Illinois State Police crime labs. Police agencies that submitted evidence to the labs often waited six months or more for the clues only DNA can reveal, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said yesterday that the DNA backlog in state police labs is gone. Now, agencies can expect to get evidence processed within 30 days. More funding and more staffing are behind the dramatic turnaround, said an Illinois State Police spokesman. State and federal funding that totaled several million dollars was used to fund training and pay for DNA samples to be analyzed at other testing centers. In fiscal year 2004, labs were able to get 351 “hits,” which are matches to a known offender in a database, as well as matches to evidence from another crime. In the year that ended June 30, that number jumped to 1,049.