the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has sent out a memo to the 69 law enforcement agencies it serves suspending touch DNA analysis due to diminished resources and burgeoning demand.Here's a graphic from the Chronicle depicting the proportion of DNA testing at the lab attributed to touch DNA in property crimes vs. the total:
Officials were forced to temporarily halt the service, ironically, because testing for touch DNA has been so successful.
"We didn't anticipate this remarkable growth and what law enforcement has done to embrace DNA testing services in general," said Dr. Roger Kahn, the forensic institute's crime laboratory director. "We need to reassess our service levels in order to keep up."
The suspension will not affect the Houston Police Department, which relies on the city's crime lab to perform DNA analysis. The Houston Forensic Science Center began performing DNA analysis in some property crime cases after the city cleared HPD's backlog of thousands of rape kits awaiting DNA testing.
But the county crime lab's suspension of the cutting-edge forensic testing, which it took the initiative to offer eight years ago, could impact property crime investigations for dozens of law enforcement agencies.
FWIW, the folks who "didn't anticipate this remarkable growth" clearly were not blog readers. Grits has been prophesying this conundrum for years, e.g.: