DNA testing backlogged in Philadelphia

    DNA testing has become a well known tool in the arsenal of the Philadelphia Police Department. The process is slower than it may appear in popular culture.

    DNA testing has become a well known tool in the arsenal of the Philadelphia Police Department. The process is slower than it may appear in popular culture.
    Caption: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090831tmdna.mp3]

    It seems that when shown on television crime dramas, DNA can be evaluated instantly. But real life Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says it can take weeks to get a test done, and the city can only do testing in major crimes because of a backlog of cases.

    Ramsey: And there are some departments now that have gotten rid of their backlog over time and are able to send out samples for crimes like burglary and so forth that can be solved through the use of DNA. We haven’t got to that point yet because we are still with our more serious crimes, but I hope we will be soon.

    Philadelphia Police officials say they can rush a priority sample, which cuts down the time to days instead of weeks. The Pennsylvania State Police also has a backlog of DNA samples.

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