Operations have begun at the Illinois State Police (ISP)’s new forensic science lab in Decatur, which is expected to expand DNA testing capabilities.
ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said, “The new lab will further reduce the backlog and allow us to solve crimes faster and bring justice for all involved.” The lab was accredited last week, allowing the leased facility to officially open.
The new four-story ISP Decatur Forensic Science Laboratory located along U.S. Route 51 on Decatur’s south side will provide testing for law enforcement across the state. Forensic scientists at the lab will examine evidence collected from crime scenes and analyze biological material to identify DNA profiles of suspects.
The facility is the seventh state forensic laboratory and will also house the On-Scene Services.
According to the ISP, backlogs in trace chemistry, medicinal chemistry, latent prints, firearms, toxicology and footwear testing have decreased by approximately 37% since 2021.
“This state-of-the-art facility will increase capacity to significantly reduce DNA testing times, produce rapid results and further reduce the case backlog,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
Last June, the state had no pending sexual assault cases more than 180 days old, marking the first time the agency was able to comply with a 2010 law aimed at eliminating the backlog. Now, Illinois State Police say the average time to complete a DNA case is 3.6 months.
ISP’s laboratory system processes criminal evidence in seven disciplines: drug chemistry, trace chemistry, toxicology, biology/DNA, latent prints, firearms/tool marks, and shoe/tire marks.