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ISP introduces new program for DNA testing

CHICAGO — After years of development and design, Illinois State Police (ISP) will begin utilizing new systems for DNA processing.

ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly unveiled its new Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) Wednesday to Gov. JB Pritzker with a mock crime scene in Chicago. The program is an evidence tracking system that will give ISP a more convenient way to monitor tested evidence throughout Illinois. Municipal departments will also have access to the system, so they can track the progress of a case.

"The use of LIMS will help us achieve this goal in a more efficient manner," said Kelly. "I’m very grateful to the people who have put so much work into this process over the years and getting it to this point. This is really the front door to the entire forensics process that’ll have a tremendous ripple effect in terms of our turnaround time going forward."

Pritzker said 500 forensics personnel complete more than 70,000 assignments every year. He said transparency and backlogged tests have been a problem for ISP for "far too long."

"The people who are doing the work here in this crime lab; they keep our citizen’s safe, too," added Gov. Pritzker. "Our new Laboratory Information Management System is a prime example of what a smart investment by state government looks like."

Kelly told reporters that investigators have families at the forefront of their minds when processing DNA. He said that’s why they do the job.

"We know when we think about forensics analysis as a really long hose, there’s a lot of kinks in this hose… There’s an overuse, sometimes, and abuse by both investigators and prosecutors in testing things that sometimes have very little to do with being able to prove a particular case," said Kelly.

Kelly said public access to forensics records will be on a case-by-case basis to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

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