Certain crime evidence takes more than a year to process; BCA sets goal at 90 days or better
A St. Paul family reported their vehicle stolen to police earlier this year, a crime they said was caught on motion camera.
“It was shocking, very scary, to think that all happened while we were home, unexpected, just kind of surreal,” said one resident, who asked for her identity not to be shared.
The video provided to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS showed three people coming into the yard through an unlocked gate, opening a door to the home, and then driving away with a vehicle.
Another unexpected moment, the resident said, was when police told them it could take many months for forensic evidence testing results to come back.
“When I spoke to the sergeant, he was great, but he said, ‘I want you to know, don’t expect a quick turnaround here because of the backlog of fingerprints and DNA at the BCA,'” the resident said. “I understand it’s not like ‘CSI’, not just scan a fingerprint and make an arrest that day, to learn it would be so long, it was kind of upsetting.”
Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension set a new goal to process evidence at its laboratory within 90 days in the coming years after receiving funding from the Legislature that allows for more staff, according to officials.
“Our lab has definitely seen a surge across all different crime types in terms of what’s being asked of them to analyze, that’s impacting what we’re doing,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said.
Violent crimes take priority when it comes to the order in which they process evidence, the BCA said. In other types of crimes, fingerprint test results could take up to six months, and DNA from a burglary — a simple property crime — could take more than a year for results.
Evans said the BCA continues to hire staff from the funding provided by the Legislature back in May.
“There’s a ramp-up period, so it will take us anywhere from two to five years, depending on the caseload, to really get to that 90 days,” Evans said. “If everything remains for our current projections, if those go higher, that will impact that.”
In the last three months, BCA provided data that their scientists provided 4,300 DNA test reports to law enforcement due to new staffing that’s come on board.
In fiscal quarter two, BCA DNA staff processed more than 2,800 cases, according to data provided.