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Strengthening Our Nation's Crime Laboratories

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2018
2 pages
This video and accompanying transcript describe some of the challenges crime laboratories face as the demand for the analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence continues to increase, as well as how funding from the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation to increase lab production.
Gerald LaPorte, NIJ's Director of the Office of Investigative and Forensic Science, describes how NIJ's DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program provides immediate funding to state and local crime laboratories for conducting DNA testing and building lab capacity. Brady Mills, Deputy Assistant Director of Crime Lab Service for Texas Public Safety Law Enforcement Support, notes that although advancing technology in forensic analysis has increased lab productivity, the demand for evidence analysis continues to overwhelm crime labs. Federal funding and technical assistance have helped, but have tended to lag behind crime lab needs. Mary Lentschke, the retired Acting Chief of the Houston Police Department, also notes the increasing demands on crime laboratories to process evidence in a timely manner. This requires building the capacity of crime labs. Kim Murga, Director of Forensic Services for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, comments that the long-term reception of DNA backlog reduction funds from NIJ has helped the Las Vegas crime lab to reduce its DNA backlog for both sexual assault and property crimes. Timothy Kupferschmid, the Chief of Laboratories and the Chief Medical Examiner for New York City, describes how NIJ funding has assisted in specified advances in crime lab evidence analysis. All of those participating in the video emphasize the need for resources to expand the capabilities and productivity of local and state crime labs.

Date Published: April 1, 2018