Justice Dept. Cuts Funds For Police Depts. That are Slow to Do DNA Tests

Whatever is going on, it’s terribly wrong. The bottom line is: crimes like rape are going unsolved because DNA tests aren’t being conducted in a timely fashion.

By Benjamin Protess and Joel Rubin
Los Angeles Times

Expecting nearly $1 million in federal grant money to help cover the cost of analyzing DNA evidence in rape cases and other violent crimes, the department was awarded only half that much.
U.S. Department of Justice officials, who distribute the money to police agencies nationwide, told LAPD staff that the fault was their own. The LAPD had been too slow to spend about half the DNA grant money awarded in prior years, so its 2008 allotment was reduced. Meanwhile, an audit found that more than 7,000 rape kits are waiting to be analyzed, the largest known backlog in the country.
As dire as LAPD’s problem is, it is hardly unique.
The Justice Department cut backlog funding this year to crime labs in 17 states, including California, because they had not spent federal grants dating as far back as 2004. About a quarter of the 105 law enforcement agencies that receive these grants had their funding docked, Justice Department officials said.

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