The nation’s 409 publicly funded crime labs had an estimated backlog of 570,100 requests for forensic services at the end of 2014, was down from 895,500 backlogged requests five years earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. Fewer requests to process biological samples from convicted offenders or arrestees for a DNA database led to the backlog decline.
Some 88 percent of the funded labs were accredited by a forensic science organization, up from 82 percent at the end of 2009 and 70 percent at the end of 2002. The vast majority 98 percent of labs performed proficiency testing to help ensure the accuracy and reliability of their work. The findings are based on the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories. In 2014, public crime labs employed an estimated 14,300 full-time personnel and had a combined operating budget of $1.7 billion.