COLUMBUS, OH (Toledo News Now) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that forensic scientists working at the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation are now processing DNA cases in a record turnaround time of 20 days. This is despite a 34-percent increase in DNA submissions from law enforcement from December 2010 to today.
In December 2010, just before DeWine took office, DNA results took approximately 125 days to complete.
"The time it took for the lab to complete DNA testing was far too long," said DeWine. "The sooner we can process the crime scene evidence, the sooner we can arrest the perpetrator."
A 'three-pronged' approach focusing on staffing, technology, and efficiency was used in the turnaround time reduction plan. A total of 21 scientists were added to the BCI laboratory staff, BCI's number of DNA testing and Combined DNA Index System robots doubled from six to 12, and a continuous quality improvement process has now been established.
"The additional work we put into this effort is well worth it," said DeWine. "It is gratifying to know that we have helped local law enforcement prevent additional crimes by getting criminals off the streets a lot faster."
BCI currently averages approximately 155 CODIS hits a month, with more than 2,000 matches in 2012.
In October, DNA evidence helped Newark Police identify a man accused of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl who was walking to high school. BCI processed the DNA evidence submitted by authorities in 12 days.
"The longer an investigation takes, the more difficult it is to solve it," said Newark Police Detective Steve Vanoy. "With the decreased turnaround time it makes our job that much easier."
"I have to believe that if this suspect had not been arrested for several months while we were waiting for DNA results, he would have reoffended," added Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt.Turnaround times for other laboratory testing processes have also declined.Testing Process 2010/Days 2012/Days
-Chemistry 42.85 10.49
-Firearms 35.33 15.73
-Latent Prints 43.28 29.37
-Trace Evidence 65.74 20.62
-Gun Shot Residue 51.38 19.56
-CODIS 23.86 07.38
-Polygraph 04.73 03.42
View a month-by-month breakdown of the 2012 turnaround time numbers.
Nearly 90 percent of Ohio's law enforcement agencies rely on BCI for state crime lab services. In 2012, the BCI laboratory tested approximately 161,000 pieces of evidence.