"The safety and security of the
citizens of Illinois remain a top priority of my administration,"
said Gov. Blagojevich. "These additional dollars will help protect
our citizens even more by allowing us to use DNA technology -- a
powerful, but expensive crime-fighting tool -- to solve violent
crimes and prevent future crimes."
"We're in the business of solving
crimes, and DNA has proven to be a very valuable crime asset to
assist us with getting criminals off the streets," said Illinois
State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "This additional funding will
help expedite the analysis process and return evidence to
investigators across the state in a timely fashion, providing the
connection needed to complete their casework."
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois,
sponsored the grants from the Department of Justice's National
Institute of Justice. The first grant, in the amount of $1,529,577
from the DNA Capacity Enhancement Program, will enhance the DNA
analytical capacity at seven DNA laboratories and the DNA Indexing
Unit, which uses the CODIS database. The money will also be used to
purchase needed computer hardware and software upgrades for current
DNA analysis instrumentation and new DNA instrumentation for use by
13 new DNA analysts who were hired in May 2004. The grant will also
fund the purchase of additional DNA instrumentation to be used in
the DNA Indexing Unit to increase the output capacity of convicted
The second grant, in the amount of
$1,753,447, will reduce the DNA casework backlog by outsourcing some
forensic biology and DNA cases. The Forensic Casework DNA Backlog
Reduction Program will also allow the Illinois State Police to hire
contractual staff to assist with the coordination and implementation
of the outsourcing program and to purchase DNA supplies for
analyzing cases that are not suitable for outsourcing. Both grants
run from Oct. 1, 2004, through March 31, 2006.
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During the past four fiscal years,
the Illinois State Police has been appropriated $2.3 million to
outsource DNA cases. On July 30, 2004, Gov. Blagojevich dedicated
$3.2 million to continue the hiring and training of scientists, as
well as the outsourcing program. Since the project began, 6,858
cases have been outsourced, reducing the DNA backlog from a high of
1,236 cases to a low of 175 cases as of June 30, 2004.
Of those cases, 476 "hits" were made
to the FBI's national computerized DNA database, known as CODIS, and
either provided investigative information by linking cases together
or provided a suspect in an unsolved case.
"The power of DNA not only rests in
its ability to exonerate falsely accused individuals, but to prevent
crimes by quickly identifying suspects through the CODIS database,"
said Gov. Blagojevich. "This additional funding will make the
outsourcing project even more successful in protecting the citizens
[News release from the