Oakland's Police Crime Lab Backlog is Safety RiskJul 08, 2012
By Chip Johnson
For retired prosecutor Rockne Harmon, the recent Alameda County civil grand jury report outlining the deficiencies in the Oakland Police Department's crime lab only scratched the surface.
The backlog of more than 3,500 cases ranks a distant second in outrageousness to cases in which suspects have already been identified through DNA evidence - and yet whose cases have gone nowhere.
According to the report, the Oakland crime lab compares DNA samples collected at crime scenes to samples in a database known as the Combined DNA Indexing System, or CODIS, which "searches local, state and national databases for DNA matches from convicted offenders, arrestees and other crime scene evidence." A match is called a "cold hit" and means that before these cases can be prosecuted, police must go collect a confirmation DNA sample from the potential suspect.
Since Oakland police began using the system in 2000, they've gotten 538 cold hits. Yet, authorities have gotten and tested confirmation samples in only about one-third of those.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle