It took Rockford Police a year to make an arrest, in a sexual assault case that happened during a home invasion on Rockford’s East side. Police were awaiting test results from the Illinois State Police crime lab.
Assistant Deputy Chief of Rockford Police Pat Hoey explains, “That’s just how long it takes a lot of times, with the backlog at the state crime lab to get to the cases they have to do.”
Crime labs have been slow to process DNA evidence due to a backlog, and a lack of funding due to the ongoing state budget crisis.
Rockford police are still awaiting test results for Kyrian Knox, the toddler that was last seen in Rockford back in August, and may be connected to an investigation into a child’s body parts found in a lake on Chicago’s West side.
State Senator Dave Syverson (R) says, “It’s not uncommon that cases can run 3-6 months, sometimes longer, before the crime lab can get to them.”
With recent reports showing Rockford’s violent crime rate rising, and the number of arrests declining, Senator Syverson says the state needs to make funding for crime labs a priority.
He explains,”It’s hard to tell a family who’s lost a loved one to violent crime that (police) have to wait for the crime lab to react.”
There are also thousands of cases pending across the state, because prosecutors have not received test results from crime labs. That is forcing many inmates to sit in jail as they await a trial.
State Representative John Cabello says, “If somebody is waiting, has been arrested, and they’re in the jail awaiting a trial, and the trial is being held up because of the DNA evidence, well that’s not a good thing, because now (taxpayers) are also paying for them to be housed.”