CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano is preparing to ask County Council for money to help fund a local DNA processing laboratory.
Law enforcement says there is a significant delay at the State Law Enforcement Division’s DNA lab in Columbia. In fact, Charleston County says some violent crimes can take at least three months for DNA testing and property crimes take a year or more.
Sheriff Graziano wants to partner with the City of Charleston – under a partnership, CPD’s forensics facility on Bees Ferry Road would begin to do DNA testing, too.
The lab would be able to gather DNA results in 24-48 hours.
Charleston County would pay approximately $1.1 million to fund three DNA lab employees and purchase the initial lab equipment.
Major Todd Hughey is the director of SLED’s Forensic Services Lab, he said they have a significant backlog due to having only eight employees processing DNA for the entire state.
The General Assembly recently gave SLED money to add 150% more employees, but he said they are able to process higher priority criminal cases much sooner than 3-12 months.
“We don’t work the cases as they are submitted,” he said. “We prioritize the submissions, to that if we have a violent crime case submitted, say out of Charleston County or any other county in the state, we can work that within 24-48 hours very easily.”
Hughey said staffing and delays are happening in states across the country.
Sheriff Graziano and members of the sheriff’s office presented their proposal during a council meeting Thursday night. County Council said they wanted to further review the matter and would bring it back to the floor for a vote later.