RALEIGH, N.C. — State Attorney General Roy Cooper is asking lawmakers for more than $1 million for six new agents and equipment to help decrease the processing time for testing evidence.
The request comes as the state's crime lab has caught up with a backlog of thousands of pieces of DNA evidence in need of testing.
Six years ago, the lab had five agents assigned to test DNA evidence. It's now at full staffing with 43 agents and an average 75-day turnaround on all DNA cases.
"We're in great shape with the DNA crime lab, now," Cooper said.
The crime lab, however wants to reduce testing in all areas – including firearms and ballistics and drugs – to 30 days.
"Being able to trace firearms and bullets to particular crimes that have been committed is critical," Cooper said. "We need more help there."
A new crime lab will open in Greensboro this summer that is expected to reduce the drug-testing workload in Raleigh by 20 percent.