With federal grant money, Scottsdale Police Department can examine DNA evidence backlog

Oct 17, 2023, 4:35 AM

(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)...

(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)

(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)

PHOENIX — The Scottsdale Police Department will have some extra cash to tackle their DNA evidence backlog, thanks to a $250,000 federal grant.

The money, coming from the U.S. Department of Justice, is an ongoing grant the department’s forensics lab has had in the past. The Scottsdale City Council officially consented to it last week.

Officer Aaron Bolin with Scottsdale Police said the funding will go towards an issue they’ve been struggling with.

“There are staffing shortages everywhere, and in forensic science, there’s apparently no exception to that,” he said. “Having not had all the forensic examiners in place that we’ve needed to has contributed to a little bit of a backlog.”

Backlogged cases are those that haven’t been looked at for 30 days or more.

“When the triaging happens where a new case comes in that our investigators are actively working, sometimes their other cases where we have a known suspect and we’re basically putting evidence together for court get pushed back,” he added.

How many backlogged DNA cases does Scottsdale have?

According to Bolin, that backlog includes more than 70 items for persons crime, nearly 40 items from property crimes, and nearly 130 sexual assault kits. He added many of these items are currently in progress.

However, the grant money will make it easier for the department to get through these cases.

“We’ll be able to actually hire another forensic scientist that will serve as an analyst,” Bolin explained. “It’s also going to help a grant position, forensic scientist and analyst, that was hired a year ago to help get through these cases.”

The money will help the department in other ways as well.

“[We’ll be able to] continue to pay for the annual maintenance for the equipment and software,” Bolin said, “as well as purchase new equipment and supplies that are required for the continuing education of the forensic scientists in the DNA unit.”

Bolin added that being able to stay on top of DNA evidence is essential to the department’s mission.

“We are working through this backlog,” he stressed. “The grant… will greatly help our efforts to make sure we can put good cases to court and ensure justice for our victims.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Saiya, at First Avenue and McKinley Street in the Roosevelt Row area, had its last beam placed on t...

Downtown Phoenix apartment tower Saiya reaches construction milestone

A downtown Phoenix high-rise apartment tower that has been under construction for nearly two years recently reached a milestone ahead of its anticipated summer opening.

58 minutes ago

Peso pluma singing on Mesa's Sloan Park stage in 2023....

Mexican singer Peso Pluma to stop in Phoenix on ‘Exodo’ tour this fall

Mexican singer Peso Pluma announced a stop in Phoenix on his upcoming tour, officials said.

3 hours ago

Firefighters at the scene of a house fire in Goodyear, Arizona...

West Valley firefighters rescue elderly woman from burning home

West Valley firefighters rescued an elderly woman from an overnight house fire in Goodyear, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Kari Lake greets supporters after announcing her bid for the seat of U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Oc...

Kevin Stone

Here’s what Kari Lake said about abortion, Ukraine, border, more in wide-ranging interview

Arizona U.S. Senate hopeful Kari Lake discussed her views on abortion, the war in Ukraine, border security and more in a wide-ranging radio interview Monday.

4 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: Arizona Speaker of the House explains tough immigration law for your review

Ben Toma, Arizona Speaker of the House, explains tough immigration law for your review. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

5 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: Sharper Point: How are citizens being protected after convicted murderer escaped house arrest?

Convicted murderer Daniel Cahill was apprehended after escaping house arrest over the weekend. Jim Sharpe takes a closer look and ponders how a criminal like him was granted house arrest in the first place in Tuesday’s Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

With federal grant money, Scottsdale Police Department can examine DNA evidence backlog