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Criminal Justice Update

BCI cuts DNA turnaround times 84 percent

The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation has reduced turnaround times for DNA evidence from an average of 125 days to 20 days over the past two years.

Cutting turnaround times has been a priority for Attorney General Mike DeWine, who as a former prosecutor knows first-hand the link between quick analysis and public safety. He made reducing the times a prime focus when he took office in 2011.
“The sooner we can process crime scene evidence, the sooner we can arrest the perpetrator,” he said. “In special cases, when law enforcement agencies feel they absolutely need the information back right away, we have the ability to turn evidence around in 72 hours.” He urges agencies to alert BCI of the need for quick analysis in special circumstances.
In December 2010, it took BCI an average of 125 days to report DNA results to law enforcement. This past December, it had that figure down to 20 days, an 84 percent reduction. That came despite a 34 percent increase in DNA evidence submissions by law enforcement. About 90 percent of Ohio agencies use BCI’s lab, which tested more than 161,000 pieces of evidence in 2012.
To reduce turnaround times, BCI hired 21 additional scientists for its Forensic Biology and DNA units over the past two years. In addition, the DNA and CODIS units now have twice as many robots ­— 12 in all — to aid in developing DNA profiles and adding them to the Combined DNA Index System database.
Newark authorities say BCI’s quick work was crucial in identifying a suspect in the October rape of a 15-year-old girl. When a rape kit produced no probative evidence, BCI tested evidence from the scene. Within two days, police were advised of a CODIS hit. After news of the suspect’s arrest, another woman reported being attacked by the same man in July. He is scheduled to stand trial in April on six charges.
“It was absolutely critical,” Newark Detective Steve Vanoy said of BCI’s role in the case. “It made the interview of the suspect that much easier because we knew it was him.”
Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt said the quick arrest likely prevented other rapes. “This is a very good example of how turnaround times can make a huge difference in getting violent offenders off the street,” he said. “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.”

Testing Process Dec. 2010/days Dec. 2012/days
Forensic Biology/DNA 125.5 19.75
CODIS 23.86 7.83
Chemistry 42.85 10.49
Firearms 35.33 15.73
Latent Prints 43.28 29.37
Documents 4.89 7.63
Trace 65.74 20.62
Gunshot Residue 51.38 19.56
Polygraph 4.73 3.42