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DOJ provides funding to clear backlog of DNA samples in Erie County

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks to the media in his office Sept. 7, 2021.
Tom Dinki
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks to the media in his office Sept. 7, 2021.

Erie County is being awarded over $600,000 from the Department of Justice to help alleviate a backlog of DNA samples from unsolved crimes. The money will go towards increased staffing in labs processing forensic evidence.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn estimates the county has a backlog of 400-500 CODIS hits, or DNA sample evidence from unsolved crimes which matches the DNA profile of a convicted offender.

He said the DNA sample backlog problem is not new nor just relegated to Erie County.

“There is a backlog all across, not only the state, but the country,” Flynn said. “It’s the nature of the business.”

With increased lab staffing and further funding from the Department of Justice to hire a prosecutor to go through the CODIS hits on a full time basis, Flynn said he expects to clear the backlog within six months and moving forward that same prosecutor will stay on to prevent any further backup of cases.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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