, 2022-07-05 16:01:42,
In August 2018, amid relentless gun violence sweeping the city, the Baltimore Police Department’s forensic laboratory dramatically shifted priorities: The lab began processing every recovered firearm for fingerprints and DNA instead of testing guns on a case-by-case basis.
The policy change came at the urging of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, which faced pressure to address gun crime and believed that forensic testing would make for stronger evidence in firearm possession cases.
But crime lab management objected to the move, and in 2020 the lab produced a report that found the policy was, by most metrics, a failure. The remarkably frank report argues that the policy did little to benefit gun prosecutions but contributed to ballooning backlogs in homicide and sex offense cases.
The Daily Record obtained a copy of the report through a Public Information Act request.
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The report also suggests that the crime lab was forced to slow forensic testing in entire categories of violent crime, including carjackings and robberies, to handle the massive influx of firearms in need of processing. The new focus on guns did not differentiate between violent gun crimes and nonviolent cases, such as firearm possession.
“Backlogs have increased exponentially, investigative (DNA) matches have decreased, and some specific case types are no longer being routinely worked,” wrote Kenneth B. Jones, a…
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