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LAPD's fingerprint backlog would cost $3 million to analyze

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LAPD has a backlog of over 3,500 fingerprints related to property crimes and cold case murders that've yet to be analyzed.

Staff reductions at the Los Angeles Police Department's Latent Fingerprint Unit have led to a backlog of unanalyzed prints. Earlier this summer, the department announced that it would ration prints and analyze only those from violent crimes and would allow area stations to fastrack prints from a small number of property crimes each month. At the time, the department's backlog was preventing new cases from going forward. 

Now, LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, head of the Detective Bureau, has a better sense of exactly what that backlog looks like. Albanese told the Police Commission on Tuesday that the department has sifted out those unanalyzed prints that could still be relevant in open cases. The deparment found 793 from 2010-2011, 2,012 from this year, and 674 from cold case homicides. 

In total, Albanese told the commission, he'd need more $3 million in overtime for analysts to get through the backlog.

LAPD has frozen overtime for civilian personnel like analysts, and it's unlikely the department would be able to come up with the money on its own.

Albanese said he's trying to find outside sources of money, like grants, to pay for the overtime. For now, the police department will keep trying to fit more and more into its analysts' standard work weeks. 

Another option, Albanese said, is looking at what types of prints need to be taken to begin with. In their analysis, he said his team found a good chunk that had no evidentiary value. 

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