Mike DeWine kept his pledge. During his successful campaign for state attorney general, he peppered the incumbent, Richard Cordray, with reminders of the long turnaround at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratories in conducting DNA and other evidence tests. He promised to do better.
Now, two years later, DeWine had posted the improved numbers. In December 2010, the labs took an average 125.5 days to process a DNA/forensic biology test. Today, the time has shrunk to 19.75 days. The turnaround for drug tests has gone from 43 days to 11, and Combined DNA Index System cases that once consumed an average 24 days have dropped to less than 8 days.
What explains the transformation? To be fair, Cordray had the labs heading in this direction. DeWine has accelerated the pace dramatically, and he has done so by spending more. That’s right, increasing sharply the resources and manpower devoted to the labs. Consider that BCI laboratory spending has jumped 40 percent, from $13.5 million to $18.9 million, 21 new scientists part of taking the staff from 99 employees to 148.
DeWine has rerouted money and gained federal grants — and all in a good cause. Nearly 90 percent of Ohio law enforcement agencies use the labs. When they move more quickly, local officers can be more responsive in their investigations and in nabbing the person who committed the crime.