Leaders to meet to discuss backlogged DNA kits

DNA kits stuck in backlogged system

AUSTIN - After the Austin Police Department's crime lab closed several months ago, an audit brought serious concerns to light about the accuracy of DNA testing performed there and the amount of backlog in DNA kits.

For now, DNA kits are being sent to the Department of Public Safety and private companies due to concerns that the APD crime lab was operating under improper training and testing. The lab's backlog of cases awaiting DNA analysis has risen to about 1,300. That's the highest rate the lab has seen in five years.

KVUE's Christy Millweard spoke with survivors of assault and representatives with Safe Alliance -- an organization that helps assault victims -- who stressed that crime labs are the key to capturing assaulters.

"Only processing 20 samples a month through DPS is not going to cut it," a representative from Safe Alliance told KVUE. 

Safe Alliance along with the Commission for Women and APD are set to give presentations at a City Hall meeting with the Public Safety Commission Tuesday. That meeting starts at 4 p.m.

Safe Alliance supports two amendments to Austin's budget. One amendment would provide $1.4 million for seven full time DNA analysts with a supervisor in APD's crime lab. The other amendment would give $500,000 to test 500 of the 700 sex assault DNA samples received in the past few years.


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