MI State Crime Lab Caseload Up 25%; Critic Cries “Armageddon”


Michigan law enforcement officials used words like “Armageddon” to warn lawmakers of a crisis brewing at state crime labs, where caseloads are up 25 percent since Detroit’s police lab was shut down more than four months ago, reports the Associated Press. Detroit’s work is being handled by Michigan State Police forensic scientists after an audit found errors in 10 percent of 200 random gun cases at the Detroit lab.

Many of the state’s 216 forensic employees are working up to 30 hours of overtime each two-week pay period to keep up with added workload, state police Capt. Michael Thomas said. “It will have an impact across the entire public safety system in the state,” he said, noting the department is falling farther behind on efforts to lower a backlog of cases. Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said the county’s small lab is being overwhelmed because local police departments see the increasing backlog at state labs and are starting to send more work to the county. “You’ve got an Armageddon on your hands,” McCabe told a Senate subcommittee. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said authorities would review more than five years of files to search for cases where gun evidence may have been misjudged by the Detroit police lab.

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