ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)-The state and federal governments have their sights set on helping the New York State Police (NYSP) get up to date on the processing of crime evidence kits. The feds have already made hundreds of thousands of dollars available, and Gov. Kathy Hochul has outlined a plan to make more money and resources available in her state of the state book.
A two-year backlog existed in 2019 at the NYSP Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) in Albany based on a report from the State Comptroller’s Office. Since then, the NYSP has been working to process a backlog of sexual assault evidence kits and implement changes suggested by the Comptroller’s Office.
In its report, the Comptroller’s Office suggested NYSP find ways to process evidence kits to meet New York’s 90-day processing law set by the state legislature. The NYSP has taken multiple actions, including hiring more staff, purchasing new software, and workflow strategies to make this a reality, it said in the Comptroller’s follow-up report in October.
More than $6M in grant money is coming from the federal government to help fight crime in New York. The money will also be used to bolster family and drug courts, but $650K will go directly to the FIC in Albany to further assist the NYSP in clearing the backlog of unprocessed DNA kits.
“The funds will be used for personnel expenses, training, equipment/software, and renovations in the lab to increase the efficiency of the layout and accommodate additional personnel,” said NYSP Director of Public Information, Beau Duffy.
Gov. Hochul said she wants to fund more equipment, software, and specialized onboarding to help clear the backlog of cases that need to be analyzed at the NYSP’s Computer Forensic Laboratory. The lab’s focus is on analyzing digital evidence, as explained on the NYSP website.
The investment is part of the Governor’s plan to reduce gun violence which includes better technology to prevent illegal gun trade. Her plan involves software upgrades to help track illegal cryptocurrency transactions and the creation of a gun tracing consortium.