State labs analyzing evidence in crimes across Indiana are getting more cases than scientists can handle.
Thousands of cases submitted to Indiana State Police are not completed every year, with most of cases go to the drug unit.
In 2014, the drug unit failed to complete more than 1,000 cases. In 2018, it was 6,800, a 550% increase. Last year, it took an average 7 months to complete a case.
Captain Dave Bursten says ISP doesn’t have the room to hire more scientists. While Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton is having to delay trials in court regarding drug offenses.
“They are not going to want to plead their client guilty to a case where we allege someone has cocaine until we can confirm that the substance in question was cocaine and not baking soda or something else,” says Brent Eaton.
To reduce the backlog, $30 million will be spent for capital improvement projects at three of ISP’s crime labs. They expect construction to start this summer.