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Continued: Hennepin County crime lab cuts DNA testing time in half

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 1, 2013 - 4:52 PM

The crime lab has seen a steady increase in demand for DNA and biologic testing, Carver said.

The number of cases has jumped from 285 in 2006 to 1,387 last year.

A big part of that increase comes from a stronger emphasis on the investigation of property and nonviolent crimes. Crime-scene technicians swab stolen cars and the scene of burglaries looking for the perpetrators’ DNA and other evidence.

Why devote valuable science tools to nonviolent offenses?

“We truly believe there is a nexus over a period of time. The person who is committing the theft from an auto or a home burglary, they are going to graduate to something more violent,” Carver said.

Scientists test DNA profiles developed from crime-scene evidence, such as semen stains or blood.

They also test DNA profiles of individuals convicted of a crime; arrested persons when permitted by law; missing persons and unidentified human remains.

$3.8 million budget

The crime lab has a $3.8 million annual budget.

It’s is one of just three agencies in the state that tests DNA in criminal investigations. The other two are the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Tri County Regional Forensic Laboratory, a joint venture among Anoka, Sherburne and Wright counties. The Tri County lab just started testing DNA last month.

The BCA handles a majority of the state’s DNA testing. The BCA received 4,976 cases in 2012. Its average turnaround time was 33 days.


Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804

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