BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Congressman Garret Graves has asked the federal government to expedite the federal funding secured to help with a backlog of DNA cases in East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish.

“Now everything is swabbed. Every car door is swab, a murder scene. We take so many DNA swabs,” said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

DNA testing has become highly practiced across the country to help get criminals off the streets as quickly as possible.

“Oftentimes we do not have the cooperation of witnesses. Oftentimes, we don’t have any witnesses, and the only thing left behind is a crime scene like a doorknob that was touched, maybe shell casings,” Moore said. “And all you have is the possibility of DNA.”

Moore said there is a huge backlog of evidence that still needs to be tested.

“We have one of the best crime labs in the nation. Our DNA section is outstanding, but we have experienced some delays just because of the volume and because of having to retrain so many different people,” he said. “They work very hard. And if there is a rush, I need people to know that if there’s a case that needs to be tested, that case will be moved up to the front of the line.”

Graves said more than 3,000 cases still needed to be addressed at the state crime lab, the bulk of them coming from Baton Rouge.

Graves asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to speed up the transfer of DNA test funds to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

“The state police crime lab serves around nine parishes. And one of the major parishes in Orleans. And they’re about 40% of the work that they get. Baton Rouge is right behind them at 35,” said Moore. “Additional monies to help the state police crime lab in their backlog and they get training to get the right machines there that we need.”

With the secured funding, Moore said they’ll be able to attract and retain DNA test specialists while also upgrading equipment.

“Nothing in the crime lab world or the world of DNA is cheap or quick, and it takes certain expert people to do these, and it takes time and procedures and training and testing,” he explained.

We are still waiting to hear from the Louisiana State Police Department on how severe the potential backlog is. We will update you once their Crime Lab releases that information.