Law enforcement investigators in Ohio should not have to wait four months to learn whether DNA collected at crime scenes matches suspects, some of whom have been arrested. Yet 125 days is the time typically needed for the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to process DNA samples.
That's ridiculous, and not just from the standpoint of police agencies. What about suspects who could be cleared by DNA testing?
Time is of the essence in investigating crimes serious enough to warrant DNA processing. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, still relatively new in his office, understands that.
DeWine terms the four-month wait for the BCII to process DNA "unacceptable," and plans to slash it to an average of 35 days. Even less time should be required in high-profile cases, he believes.
We agree, but cynics note DeWine's office is facing a 6 percent cut in appropriations. How will he do more with less money? Simple, the attorney general responds. It's a matter of priorities.
DeWine plans to reallocate how money is spent in the attorney general's office, with more emphasis on law enforcement. As much as $6 million more may be available to the BCII by doing that.
In addition, DeWine has selected former Ohio Department of Public Safety head Thomas Stickrath as the new superintendent of the BCII. DeWine told The Columbus Dispatch he made the choice because he "wanted someone who could go in and fix an agency."
Clearly, improvements are needed at the BCII. We encourage DeWine and Stickrath to make quicker turnarounds on DNA testing a top priority.