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Crime Lab in Michigan expected to do DNA Testing
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office expects to begin processing DNA evidence in murder and rape cases within a year under an expansion of its crime lab. The Sheriff, Michael Bouchard, announced that the addition of DNA testing at his department's forensic facility would speed the prosecution of violent offenses in the county and help ease a backlog of thousands of cases awaiting analysis by the Michigan State Police, which handles all DNA evidence statewide. Bouchard explained that it can take eight months to get DNA evidence back, and that can mean delays in court and in getting dangerous people off the street.
 
Already 59 county, city, state and federal police agencies in Michigan use the Oakland County Sheriff's Office crime lab's services. In 2010, nearly 30,000 toxicology and chemistry evidence cases were processed by the lab. The facility also processed 280 firearms, 820 fingerprints and 151 crime scenes.  Kent Gardner, who is in charge of the 17-person lab said that they work "pretty fast," and that the average case turnaround is 10 days for prints, one week for firearms, and one week for drug chemistry.
 
In addition, the Sheriff explained that federal grants would cover the cost of hiring personnel and making any building upgrades needed to accommodate the expanded lab. The Sheriff's Office would do DNA analysis for county police agencies without charge, as it does with other lab services, such as firearms testing and fingerprint analysis.
 
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