State of Arizona Office of the Auditor General



Department of Public Safety—Scientific Analysis Bureau (September 2000, Report No. 00-12) 


This report focuses on the need to expand the use of the DNA database program in solving crimes. This program allows law enforcement to match crime-scene evidence against a database containing DNA profiles of people who have already been convicted of specific crimes. Arizona’s program has two primary problems. First, fewer than 2,000 of the 7,623 samples received from convicted offenders are analyzed and in the database. Second, police agencies are generally not submitting crime-scene samples to be compared against the database. While the crime lab is taking steps to reduce the backlog of offender samples, including outsourcing samples, it needs to expand its efforts to analyze non-suspect crime-scene evidence.

The report also recommends that the crime lab take further action to address a substantial backlog of work in the toxicology unit. This unit, which analyzes blood and urine samples for alcohol and drugs, had a backlog of nearly 1,200 samples in February, with some going unanalyzed for more than 5 months. The report identifies five steps to help reduce the backlog, ranging from streamlining procedures to finding ways to focus more of criminalists’ time on analytical activities.

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