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Federal grant aims to improve DNA evidence processing in Iowa

DNA testing kits.
DNA testing kits.(KCRG File)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A new federal grant will help the Department of Public Safety in Iowa process DNA evidence faster.

The U.S. Justice Department gave more than $660,000 to the department. Peter Deegan, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, announced the funding on Wednesday. He said it will let the Department of Public Safety hire four DNA technician positions, and purchase new computer hardware and software to process evidence. 

Three years ago KCRG-TV9’s investigation found thousands of rape kits that hadn’t tested due to a backlog. Back then, it cost about $1,000 to process each one. This money will help clear a backlog of evidence at the state crime lab.

“This will help maintain that momentum, make sure that DNA evidence is processed timely so that when it’s needed for criminal investigations, it’ll be available to the investigators and the prosecutors who are bringing those cases in court," Deegan said.

The grant is part of nearly $200 million in Department of Justice funding going to help forensic science across the country.

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