U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1 million in federal Department of Justice (DOJ) funding for the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Department of Forensic Biology in an effort to reduce the backlog and turnaround time of DNA testing.
“This federal funding will help the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner identify perpetrators and achieve justice for victims,” said Senator Schumer. “I will continue doing everything I can to ensure our localities have the resources they need to reduce the DNA backlog in New York.”
“These federal funds will allow the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner to invest in the resources necessary to help prevent the backlog of DNA cases here in New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “By investing in backlog reduction programs we can hold more dangerous criminals accountable, and keep our families safe.”
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner serves as the public forensic laboratory for New York City and provides serology and DNA testing on thousands of cases each year. In 2015, 39,099 DNA samples were extracted, analyzed and reviewed. As a result, the Department uploaded 7,201 profiles and there were 1,057 cold hits to offender matches, 423 case-to-case matches and 497 conviction matches.
This funding will help the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner increase the current capacity and reduce by half the turnaround time and case backlog to 40 and 350 respectively. The lab has a current average yearly turnaround time of 80 and a backlog of 722. These funds will help improve timeliness of DNA testing by increasing available staff hours through overtime, purchase of supplies and continue to fund previous grant-funded staff; and support current service contracts to cover the iDashboard and Genemarker software.