FDLE Fort Myers Crime Lab Opens DNA Analysis Section

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Gerald Bailey today announced the opening of a DNA analysis section in the agency’s Fort Myers Crime Lab. The expansion is part of FDLE’s plan to increase its DNA processing capacity and will provide the capability to complete at least 55 additional DNA service requests per month.

“The end result here will be faster and more efficient service to our law enforcement customers,” FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said. “An enhanced ability to analyze DNA translates to more crimes solved and more offenders taken off the streets.” The Ft. Myers Crime Lab has started conducting DNA screening and complete DNA analysis is expected to begin in the upcoming weeks.

With the expansion of the Fort Myers lab, FDLE will provide DNA analysis in six of the agency’s seven crime labs. The agency utilized grant dollars to fund equipment and supplies, and renovated existing space in the Fort Myers Crime Lab. The department also redirected vacant forensic positions and relocated experienced personnel from other FDLE labs. The Ft. Myers DNA section consists of one crime laboratory supervisor, six crime laboratory analysts, and four forensic technologists. Previously, DNA submissions from agencies in the Ft. Myers region were handled by FDLE’s Tampa Crime Lab. The Fort Myers Crime Lab will continue to provide forensic services in the disciplines of chemistry, latent prints and crime scene to agencies in the ten county region.

Adding DNA analysis in the Fort Myers Crime Lab is part of a multi-faceted plan implemented by FDLE in response to a surge in evidence submissions which resulted in backlogs statewide, particularly in DNA. As part of the backlog reduction plan, FDLE has purchased robotics for DNA sections across the state, developed new case acceptance guidelines, implemented more effective workload and staffing management practices, maximized overtime use, developed a DNA pre-screening program with select Sheriffs, and outsourced DNA backlogs to other private, accredited labs. Since July 2006, FDLE has reduced its DNA backlog 42%.

In addition to Fort Myers, FDLE provides DNA services in its crime labs located in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa, and Orlando. FDLE plans to request funding to provide DNA services in the Daytona Beach Crime Lab in its 2008-2009 budget request.
FDLE has one of the largest crime lab systems in the country and provides crime scene response as well as conducts analysis in eight forensic disciplines at no charge to Florida’s law enforcement agencies. Last fiscal year, FDLE scientists completed over 89,000 service requests containing more than 300,000 pieces of evidence. The labs have been professionally accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board since 1990.
For more information, contact:
Trena Reddick
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Fort Myers
(813) 878-7239 or 878-7300