forensic lab 082021CHICAGO – A measure sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) and State Representative Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago) to create a Forensic Science Commission was signed into law Friday. 

“This is why we have hearings, to guide the legislation that impacts culture,” Van Pelt said. “There are still people awaiting answers as the DNA backlog decreases, and a commission is needed to improve coordination between police and forensic scientists to help further the decrease in the backlog.”

The new law creates the Illinois Forensic Science Commission to provide guidance to ensure efficient delivery of forensic services and the sound practice of forensic science.

“Forensic sciences are used daily in the justice system to help solve crimes including robberies, murders and other criminal activity,” said Collins. “With forensic sciences being such an integral part of the work that our State Police do to provide justice for crime victims, we must do everything we can to ensure these services are being delivered timely and as professionally as they possibly can.” 

Friday, Illinois State Police testified that the backlog — or Biology DNA pending assignments — has decreased 62% since 2019, which is due to a multi-pronged strategy that included increased accountability, scientific advancements such as Rapid DNA and Lean Six Sigma, additional hired and trained forensic scientists, and most importantly the full implementation of TECAN robotics.

ISP’s developments on the backlog can be tracked here.

“We have to remember that these are not just numbers in the backlog, but lives that have been assaulted and/or taken,” Van Pelt said. “This is an attempt to give grieving families some sense of resolution and justice for what happened to their loved ones.”

Once implemented, Illinois will join 10 other states who have a Forensic Science Commission.

The law was signed Friday and takes effect immediately.