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Increasing Efficiency in Crime Laboratories

NCJ Number
Date Published
National Institute of Justice
This report briefly examines how some crime laboratories across the United States are making attempts to address the national backlog problem and increase efficiency.
In a report to Congress, it was suggested that crime laboratory backlogs cause significant delays in evidence being analyzed, resulting in investigation and court proceeding delays. Some crime laboratories across the United States have found ways to address backlog problems without a large increase in personnel or a policy limiting case submissions. This is seen through the implementation of managerial advances, such as process mapping (a system that uses flowcharts to help visualize the laboratory’s analytical process), efficiency forum (a review of laboratory analytical capabilities based on a project management system--ADDIE), and business project management (BPM) (a computer-enabled management tool supporting change and innovation). Federal, State, and local agencies identified as implementing strategies to manage backlogged cases include: the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory (process mapping), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (process mapping), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (process mapping), the Illinois State Police (efficiency forum), and the FBI Laboratory (business project management). Modern efficiency techniques like process mapping have advanced laboratory procedures and improved agencies’ crime laboratories. Laboratories building capacity are encouraged to seek ways to improve efficiency through the use of strategic management tools described above or through similar initiatives.
Date Created: January 6, 2008