Evidence samples taken from some Southern California rape victims will be analyzed and compared with DNA profiles of convicted felons within days under a Fast Track Forensic Program, says California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, according to the Los Angeles Times. The process now takes as long as six months. The program, which will cost $1.1 million, is being funded with money from a 2001 settlement with Nine West Group over allegations that the company was engaged in price fixing in the retail sale of women’s shoes..
“This is something that will have significant impact once it’s fully implemented,” said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. “And it’s something we’ll seek to take advantage of.” Until now, bodily fluids, hair samples and fingernail scrapings went to local police crime labs for processing. Under the pilot program, an additional swab will be taken and sent directly to the attorney general’s lab in Richmond, Ca., and analyzed within five days. If DNA is found, analysts will complete a profile of the suspect and compare it with a database with the DNA profiles of 575,000 felons. Matches will be immediately reported to law enforcement. The new program does not address a backlog of more than 250,000 DNA samples that have been collected from convicted felons but have yet to be analyzed and entered into the state’s database.