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Report: Wisconsin crime lab faster with DNA tests, slower with others

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin crime lab has significantly cut the turn-around time for DNA tests, while the wait time for other lab work has grown, according to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul who released the annual Crime Lab Report.

“The team at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories continues to advance Wisconsin DOJ’s mission of protecting the public and ensuring that justice is done,” Kaul said in a statement.

The report shows improvement with the lab’s DNA analysis. In 2020, it took crime lab scientists an average of 94 days to finish DNA tests. That time climbed to 128 days in 2021 but fell to 84 days last year.

The improvement came despite an increase in DA cases.

The crime lab processed 4,347 cases in 2022, compared to 3,612 cases in 2021.

While lab teams were able to speed-up DNA testing, wait times for drug testing, firearms testing and toxicology reports all jumped.

In the case of toxicology tests, the wait time nearly doubled from 48 days in 2021 to 84 days last year.

Kaul said the crime lab did help solve two cold cases.

“The Wisconsin Identity Resolution team, a collaboration of DFS, Division of Criminal Investigation and local law enforcement to solve unresolved cases, resulted in the conviction of two decades-old homicide cases,” Kaul said.

“The Wisconsin [family search] program has been available to law enforcement free of charge since January 2018. To date, 39 cases have been searched and 7 cases have been solved through the familial investigative lead.”

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