The Bulletin Board

Safety hopes federal grant will speed up DNA testing for criminal investigations

By: - December 22, 2022 11:29 am

The Department of Safety is hoping a federal grant will help clear a backlog of items that need DNA testing for criminal investigations. (Getty Images)

This year, the Department of Safety received more than 18,000 items from criminal investigations requiring DNA testing. It’s taking more than 10 months to process DNA testing requests like these because of staff shortages, complexity of cases, and the volume. 

The department hopes to cut that to 60 days with $99,000 in federal money approved by the Executive Council Wednesday. It’s the fourth year in a row the department has received a federal “DNA Backlog Reduction Grant” from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

The money will pay for staff overtime and training and lab equipment and software, according to the department’s request to the council. 

Department spokesperson Amber Legace said in an email the State Police forensic lab is the sole provider of forensic DNA analysis in the state. 

“The dedicated members within the forensic laboratory provide invaluable service to law enforcement agencies that send in evidence submissions resulting in successful case investigations, prosecutions, and providing justice for victims,” she said.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.