For the next 10 months, the Houston Forensic Science Center will outsource most of its DNA work to a private laboratory to play catch-up with a backlog of evidence, reports Forensic Magazine.
Half of the $2 million project will be covered by federal grants—and the laboratory will still handle priority and urgent cases as it prepares to increase capacity for the future, according to the HFSC.
The new venture is a way to dig out of a backlog of nearly 1,000 requests, said officials.
"In this case, an investment on the front end will alleviate backlogs going forward," said Peter Stout, HFSC CEO and president. "Our plan is to simultaneously eliminate a longstanding backlog while building a sustainable, efficient process that allows for an average 30-day turnaround time on DNA work."
The private laboratory has yet to be determined, with a request for proposal still pending, according to officials.