Hennepin County crime lab gets stimulus moneyby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is getting $1.1 million in federal stimulus money to expand operations at its downtown Minneapolis crime lab.
The crime lab offers forensic services to 32 local law enforcement agencies. Forensic science supervisor Jim Liberty says the new money will be used to beef up DNA testing.
"We really had an explosion of DNA cases that get submitted, partly because of our own success. It's been an incredibly successful and powerful tool the past decades," said Liberty. "Because of that, we have just been inundated with requests for DNA testing."
Liberty says his agency hopes to reduce the backlog of tests at the crime lab. It now takes two months to run tests related to violent crimes, and up to six months for DNA tests in property crimes.
The stimulus money will hire seven employees who will handle up to 40 percent more cases.
Hennepin County has already approved more than $400,000 in expansions to the lab to accommodate the new staff.