In the nearly two decades that DNA testing in criminal cases has become commonplace, Indiana State Police crime labs suffered a backlog high of nearly one thousand cases that needed DNA testing. As of December, that number is down to 389, according to the police department’s annual report.
The combination of a bigger lab in Indianapolis, new technology and the hiring of more biologists has contributed to a decrease in the forensic backlog in all cases, reported The Journal Gazette.
“Every crime lab has a backlog. The issue really is what’s your turnaround time,” said Eric Lawrence, director of forensic analysis who has been with the state police for 28 years.
“Our goal is to complete 75 percent of our cases in 45 days,” Lawrence said. “At the same time, if a police agency has some sort of rush, some high-profile case, or something that can be an immediate threat to public safety, we want to meet those needs too.”
Before Indiana’s crime labs caught up on DNA testing, they were among a handful of crime labs across the country that asked the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directories for an extension to meet new standards to remain accredited.
With most of the lab’s shortcomings being administrative, the department has already corrected itself and expects to be fully reaccredited next month, according to Lawrence.