Audits in the News: Oregon State Police crime lab audit earns coverage in statewide media.

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

Despite two holidays coming and going since our last “Audits in the News” blog post, the division has had a busy few weeks!

The division released its performance audit on the Oregon State Police’s Forensic Services Division, whose five labs and 127 employees are responsible for the bulk of forensic testing among Oregon law enforcement. The audit found that the division was struggling with an enormous backlog, which has only increased over the last decade.

You can read the complete audit here.

Statesman Journal – State finds huge spike in crime lab backlog

Read the story here.

“The backlog at Oregon crime labs has increased 90 percent since 2005, according to an audit from the Oregon Secretary of State, released Tuesday. Overall testing demand has grown more than 30 percent. DNA and fingerprint testing make up the majority of the backlog.”

Portland Tribune – Audit: Increased demand swamps state forensic testing lab

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“A backlog of untested forensic evidence at Oregon State Police laboratories has ballooned by 90 percent in the past decade, fueled by increased demand, inefficient practices and staff shortages and vacancies, according to a secretary of state audit.

The Oregonian – State crime lab’s backlog of untested evidence nearly doubled in last decade, audit finds

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“The backlog of untested evidence in Oregon’s state crime lab has nearly doubled in the past decade, with 3,700 pieces of evidence submitted by police agencies as of January 2015 that were awaiting analysis for more than 30 days … The lab’s workload has increased substantially during the past 10 years, while its staffing levels have not. During that time, some lab director and analyst positions were vacant, and several staff were on family leave or in training, contributing to the delays in analysis, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Bend Bulletin – Crime lab audit warns of growing backlog

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“An audit of Oregon State Police crime labs points to a growing backlog of evidence waiting to be tested. Auditors with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office found it takes an average of 65 days to complete testing on a submitted piece of evidence, while the number of cases in which it takes at least 30 days to complete testing has jumped 90 percent since 2005.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Audit: Oregon State Crime Labs Should Plan For Rising Caseload

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A new audit by the Secretary of State found that due to inefficiencies and inadequate staffing, it takes the Oregon State Police forensics division 65 days on average to analyze evidence like fingerprints and DNA. That’s twice as long as the industry standard for timely service, according to the new audit.”

Two other audits that were recently released, which included the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Employment Department, will be featured in next month’s roundup.