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Council boosts APD’s forensic capacity

Friday, April 26, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

City Council passed a package of five resolutions Thursday to move forward with enhanced forensic analysis of DNA evidence gathered by the Austin Police Department. The resolutions, which passed under consent, continue or expand contracts with Houston Forensic Science Center, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Bode Cellmark Forensics, and Signature Science LLC, with all four contracts totaling just over $9 million. Council also approved a budget amendment to APD’s special revenue fund for a new full-time position, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, to work on enhanced analysis of DNA evidence in sexual assault cases. The contracts and the increased capacity they will provide are expected to greatly increase the department’s ability to analyze DNA evidence. In 2016, the city’s DNA lab was shut down due to concerns over how evidence was being used and handled.

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