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Wisconsin DOJ Makes Crime Lab Improvements

Wisconsin Department of Justice

  If you are the victim of a crime, you want testing of that evidence to come back fast. According to the state Department of Justice, some of that evidence is coming back quickly but some is taking years.

The DOJ released a data report for 2020 that lists improvements made to three state labs, including Wausau, to improve DNA testing and provide updated equipment.

When it comes to rape kits and identifying criminals, this can make a big difference. One area the testing is lagging is drugs and Attorney General Josh Kaul says they have noticed a rise in fentanyl.

"It's really important that we have a strong toxicology unit as we combat this fentanyl challenge because small quantities of fentanyl have huge and devastating impacts on people," Kaul said.

The state crime lab's forensics unit also says they need more staff to help with crime scenes and sexual assaults. The head of the crime lab says the improvements would go a long way in helping Wisconsinites.

"This is a very important opportunity to build on the services that the crime laboratory can offer to the citizens of Wisconsin and is something that we feel is very important with moving forward with the science that is out there in the toxicology world," Division of Forensic Science Administrator Nicole Roehm said.

For victims of sexual assault, more testing and more bodies would bring closure faster.

"That would include cases of sexual assault kits where there's DNA evidence they're going to be able to identify the person whose DNA is involved in the crime," Kaul said.

The DOJ is also looking into software that will allow victims of sexual assault to track their assault kits and know who to contact with questions in processing.

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