Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Imagine what would happen

if in every election in every state in the U.S., crime lab backlogs were a major issue.

They are a big issue -- at least, the DNA backlogs are -- in Wisconsin's Attorney General's race.

But what if you asked any candidate for your local city council, or anyone who sought election to a post as a county supervisor or state legislator, "How committed are you to insuring that forensic science is fully supported in our community?"

By that, you would explain, you mean specifically that your local police department would have what it needed in the way of equipment and training to process a crime scene and collect, preserve, and store evidence. A way to accurately investigate everything from traffic accidents to homicides. That dusting for fingerprints would be done at every burglary scene, unidentified suspects' latent prints entered into the state and national database, as well as those of all arrestees, and your local law enforcement able to access the FBI database through IAFIS. You would say that you mean that rape victims would be treated with sensitivity, and rape kits processed immediately. Your lab would be given adequate facilities, would be fully staffed, and well-equipped. Your local or regional death investigators fully qualified, and given all they needed to do their jobs. Death certificates issued within 30 days in all but the rarest cases. Lab turnaround the same. And that if your community lacked the resources, that your representatives would raise a hue and cry for state and federal funding for these needs.

What if every member of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate had to tell you, the voter, that he or she supported full funding of the Coverdell Act and other forensic science legislation?

You need not only imagine what would happen. Give it a try.

1 comment:

Sandra Ruttan said...

It would change everything, including the waiting times for fictional detectives to get lab work back.

Love the pictures Jan.