Illinois State Crime Labs Slow to Process DNA Evidence So Far in 2012

By: Meghan Dwyer Email
By: Meghan Dwyer Email

A backlog in Illinois state crime labs means in 2012 it has taken State Police nearly four months, on average, to process DNA cases.

Here in Winnebago County there are nearly 1000 cases pending in state crime labs - that includes evidence for all types of crimes.

In May the average DNA case, sitting in a crime lab, was 145 days old. Compare that to May 2010, when the average age of a case was just 59 days.

State Police say they try to turn cases around in 30 days, but that's not always possible for certain types of crimes.

Local law enforcement are able to push evidence through the lab faster if they request a higher priority. They often do that for murder cases.

"If we have a case that needs very quick attention maybe such as a homicide or something like that we'll talk to the Illinois State Police crime lab and often they'll facilitate getting the items we need processed and done in a very timely manner," says Rockford Police Lt. Marc Welsh.

State Police say they numbers don't accurately reflect how fast they process evidence because they are constantly prioritizing cases and sometimes outsourcing them to expensive outside vendors.

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