FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2019
Audit Finds Opportunities to Reduce Crime Lab Turnaround Time
Contact information: Brianna Ludwig, North Dakota State Auditor’s Office, 701-328-2453, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Auditor Joshua Gallion today released an audit of the North Dakota State Crime Lab which shows the agency has experienced significant workload increases while full-time staff have decreased since a 2018 reduction-in-force. Since 2014, the State Crime Lab has seen a 55 percent increase in turnaround time (or 75 days) for DNA tests and an 84 percent increase in turnaround time (or 26 days) for drug chemistry tests.
"The state’s criminal justice system relies on the scientific support provided by the State Crime Lab,” Auditor Gallion said. “When the testing is backlogged, the entire judicial system moves that much slower.”
The audit found that after the reduction-in-force eliminated one evidence technician, the Crime Lab has had to pull a forensic scientist off scientific testing to help the one evidence technician log the incoming evidence. Not only does this increase turnaround time, but it results in a higher paid employee logging evidence. The report goes on to make recommendations for reducing the overall time to complete evidence testing.
This audit is a result of the State Auditor’s Office statutory responsibility to audit or review each state agency once every two years. The complete audit report can be found on our website, http://bit.ly/NDAGAudit.