GBI working to decrease backlog in crime lab cases

(WTVM) - In the past year, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations says the demand for cases has increased by 20 percent.
This has caused a significant backlog for the agency. They tell us why the demand for cases is growing and how officials plan to get a hold on the problem.

According to the GBI, the backlog stems from law enforcement officers delivering more evidence to the crime lab in Decatur. It's also because more crimes are happening as the population increases in Georgia.

"A homicide investigation or a sexual assault case will take precedence over a case that has a lesser offense. So that's one way. Also if the district attorney calls and says this case is needed we would look at that as a priority case" said Nelly Miles, Public Affairs Director.

The GBI says the Governor's Office and state legislature allotted more funding during the past session to hire more toxicologists and firearms analysts to help with the backlogs.
If necessary, using other crime lab out the state can help, but that is not always the first choice. Miles say they always try to get the cases through the lab as quickly as possible without jeopardizing evidence and results. 

"Our law enforcement officers, our courts. our district attorneys office when they make request for evidence testing its important for us to meet the needs of our customers, but at the same time the GBI crime lab is highly interested in maintain a high level of quality and so we have to balance the need for those cases to get out," said Miles.

If a case is considered high priority it may go through the crime lab in under a month but that is not always possible as toxicologists are working more than one case at a time.

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