Fingerprints and DNA are removed from evidence via a sanitary swab. It's then placed in a machine, that spins out information, that means nothing to the average person, but means everything to crime scene investigators.
The DNA found on a piece of evidence can identify both the suspect and the victim. And this national database machine can also link the suspect to other crimes committed all over the country.
Every time CMPD lab techs test DNA for one violent crime, another one happens - pushing their timeline back. This is where the backlog starts. As crimes continue to happen, the lab has to spread their resources and prioritize some crimes over others.
While CMPD says all crimes are important, they tell us, they must test violent crimes first - in order to keep the community safe. The fact that the lab is part of CMPD headquarters helps speed the process up a bit. It means evidence doesn't need to be sent out to an external lab for analysis.
But it still doesn't happen in the blink of an eye. CMPD knows each case is a life, maybe a life lost, and needs to be handled with care.