The Illinois State Police (ISP) has opened a new forensic laboratory in Decatur that is expected to expand its DNA testing capacity. The new lab will help reduce the backlog and enable crimes to be solved faster, bringing justice to everyone involved. The institute was certified last week, allowing the rental facility to officially open.
Located south of Decatur on Route 51, the new four-story ISP Decatur Forensic Institute will provide testing to law enforcement agencies statewide. Forensic scientists at the institute will examine evidence collected from crime scenes and analyze biological material to determine the suspect’s DNA profile. The facility will be the state’s seventh forensic laboratory and will also include crime scene services.
According to ISP, testing for trace chemistry has stalled. Medicinal chemistry, potential traces, firearms, toxicology, and footwear have all decreased by about 37% since 2021. The new facility is expected to significantly reduce the turnaround time for DNA testing, deliver rapid results, and increase capacity to further reduce cases.
Last June, the state had more than 180 days. There were no backlogged sexual assault kits, and it was the first time a government agency was able to comply with a 2010 law aimed at closing backlogs. Now, Illinois police say the average time it takes to complete a DNA case is 3.6 months.
ISP’s laboratory system processes criminal evidence in seven areas: medicinal chemistry, microchemistry, toxicology, biology/DNA, and potential science. Prints, firearm/tool marks, footwear/tire marks. The new laboratory is expected to expand the DNA testing capacity and reduce the backlog, resulting in faster justice.