06.30.10

Schiff Secures Additional Funding for Regional DNA Lab in Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill includes $1 million in additional funding to expand the capacity of the Regional Law Enforcement DNA Laboratory in Glendale. This new federal investment builds upon the $1.5 million that Rep. Schiff secured to build the lab.

“Increasing the capacity of Glendale’s Forensic DNA Lab will help take murders and rapists off the streets, and improve public safety in Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank and the surrounding communities,” Rep. Schiff said. “Providing the lab with additional resources and state-of-the-art technologies will enable a quick analysis of DNA samples, helping our communities solve crimes faster and keep our families safer.”

“Los Angeles County is the densest and most populated county in the nation, and with that comes increased concern for crime, as well as the need to investigate crime thoroughly and appropriately,” said Glendale Police Department Captain Ray Edey. “However, the two labs currently operating in the area are overwhelmed, resulting in many crimes going uninvestigated because we do not currently have the capacity to assess them. This lab will be the first congressionally appropriated and supported full-scale lab of its kind in the state of California, with capacity to manage the DNA trace evidence load to help take criminals off the street.”

California currently has approximately 28,000 unsolved cases in which DNA evidence is present. The state routinely compares 1.4 million offender DNA profiles with the 28,000 unsolved cases, producing between 300 and 400 investigative leads each month.

“Congressman Schiff’s special insight and hard work helped make the DNA program a reality, and we are very proud that this program will be located in and affiliated with the City of Glendale,” said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian. “This funding will go a long way to reduce the backlog of DNA cases that are currently waiting prosecution.”

Rep. Schiff also secured $725,000 in the CJS Appropriations bill for Los Angeles County, as well as $725,000 for the City of Los Angeles, to support overtime and outsourcing to private labs to ensure every rape kit in the city and county is processed and uploaded into CODIS. Additionally, Rep. Schiff worked to include $750,000 in the bill to expand the Cold Hit Outcome Project pilot program state-wide, creating an electronic database that would allow the California Department of Justice to help local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to more successfully prosecute cold hit DNA cases.

Congressman Schiff is also a lead co-sponsor of the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act, which passed the House on May 18.  The legislation makes “Katie’s Law” the national standard, encouraging states to maximize the potential of forensic DNA to solve and prevent violent crimes by collecting a DNA sample upon arrest at the same time as fingerprints -- for certain felony crimes.