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Illinois State Police sees major reduction in DNA/biology backlog since March 2019

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 6:47 PM CST
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ILLINOIS. (WIFR) - The race to bust through the state’s DNA backlog hits new heights and law enforcement leaders see big potential for the future of Illinois forensics.

“We are really knocking that steady load down and the average age is coming down, the turnaround time is improving and the overall backlog is continuing to move in the right direction. We hope that’s going to produce some positive results for victims of sexual assault and other crime,” said Brendan Kelly.

Illinois State Police reach a new milestone as the Division of Forensic Services reduces the state’s DNA backlog by 48 percent, bringing the total of untested evidence from 9,289 samples to just under 5,000. ISP Director Brendan Kelly says the progress is promising.

“A big concern for us, a big driver for the Illinois State Police has been to improve the turnaround times when it comes to those sexual assault kits; the DNA that is taken after a sexual assault, to be able to use that as forensic evidence to solve the case and be able to move forward, potentially, with a prosecution,” said Kelly.

While the advancements in analysis are cause for celebration, Kelly says his team’s work is never done.

“None of us will be satisfied, however, until we continue to make further progress, and when we reach a time when all victims can know that the cause of justice in their particular case and in all cases will be advanced and not delayed by forensic evidence,” said Kelly.

Kelly says the progress is even more impressive because it occurred while some of the office’s forensic scientists were on loan to the Illinois Department of Public Health to help with COVID-19 testing.

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