MD State Police make improvements in DNA collection

Collection backlog cut from 20,000 to 600 but delay in analysis means samples will be outsourced to lab.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

Back in 2004, an audit revealed 28 serious problems with DNA analysis at the Maryland State Police. A follow-up audit released in February found that substantial improvements have been made but there is still serious work to do. The police still have a backlog of more than 25,100 inmate DNA samples to analyze, the Maryland Gazette reports.

‘‘We had a long report last time, and they addressed about two-thirds of the items,” said auditor Bruce A. Myers of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services who prepared the Feb. 13 and 2004 reports. ‘‘There is still a lot for them to do, but they did make a lot of progress.”

In 2004, the police had not even collected some 21,000 samples from inmates as required by state law. This year, there are only about 600 more samples to be collected. But there's still a huge backlog in analyzing the samples.

The State Police has hired an outside laboratory to analyze the backlogged 25,100 DNA samples. Turn-around should take about two months.

‘‘Of course, then [each sample] has to be analyzed there and each sample reviewed for quality control and be reviewed by our forensic science division,” MSP spokesman Greg Shipley said.

DNA samples from convicted felons has led to 153 cases being solved since collection started in 1998.

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