02.26.09

Schiff Secures Funds to Improve and Increase the Use of DNA and Forensic Technology

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Thursday, February 26, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff Secures Funds to Improve and Increase the Use of DNA and Forensic Technology

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Schiff announced that the House approved funding for three important efforts to use technology to take murderers and rapists off the streets: a local forensic DNA laboratory in the City of Glendale, a forensic science institute at California State University, Los Angeles, and a federal grant program to reduce DNA evidence backlogs.  The funds were requested by Rep. Schiff and included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 1105), which passed late yesterday.

“DNA matching technology is one of the greatest advancements in forensic science since the fingerprint,” said Schiff.  “The funding in this bill will help take violent felons off the street by speeding up DNA analysis through the establishment of a new lab in Glendale and by expanding training programs for DNA analysts in our region.”

The bill included $1 million for the City of Glendale for a Forensic DNA Laboratory. The City of Glendale has a backlog of almost 1,000 cases with preserved DNA evidence. This funding will establish a DNA center within the Glendale police facility which will provide a timely return of DNA analysis, crime evidence, and cold case evidence. While the DNA lab will be located in Glendale, it will also service the neighboring cities of Burbank and Pasadena and will be capable of accepting evidence from many other regional communities as well.

The bill appropriated $1 million for Cal State, Los Angeles for its California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI). This funding will enable CFSI to become a training and technical support center for local public crime laboratories in California.  Cal State will work with the LA County Sheriff’s Department to train new DNA analysts who will work to help reduce the DNA backlog in our region.

Additionally, Rep. Schiff played an integral role in securing full funding, $151 million, for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Program to process DNA evidence.  The U.S. Department of Justice has estimated that there are at least 221,000 rape kits currently in storage that have not been analyzed. Los Angeles holds about 10,000 of those backlog kits, among the highest backlogs in the nation.  This funding will provide federal grants to state and local governments over the next six years for DNA analysis of unprocessed evidence in rape cases.

“This funding will help clear the backlog of DNA samples and stop predators before they strike again,” said Schiff. “These funds will go a long way toward finally solving hundreds or thousands of cold sexual assaults cases – ultimately making our neighborhoods safer.”