Crime & Justice

$1m federal grant to upgrade criminalists’ background in DNA for LA

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$1million of federal money awarded to Cal State Los Angeles will help LA city and county catch up on the analysis of old evidence from sexual assault cases.

LA County Sheriff Lee Baca said last month that a slow trickle of cash would also slow his department’s efforts to clear its old files. This project will train new criminalists in DNA analysis, says coordinator Harley Sagara.

Harley Sagara: "These new employees are the answer for the future, but for the immediate, that’s why we’re doing the outsourcing to try to catch up on the backlog and that’s why we’re also doing the other phase of this training which is advanced training for experienced criminalists."

Experienced analysts will learn new and potentially faster techniques. Sagara says the money also will pay for trusted outside labs to analyze DNA evidence.