Ohio patrol lab expands, reduces drug case backlog

By By KANTELE FRANKO

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The State Highway Patrol has expanded its crime lab and added analysts to reduce a backlog of thousands of cases awaiting drug testing at the central Ohio facility.

The backlog grew in recent years as the patrol increased its focus on drug trafficking and other crimes in addition to traffic safety. That meant prosecutors and other authorities were waiting longer for results to confirm what types of drugs were involved in the backlogged cases.

A supervisor at the Columbus lab says the backlog peaked at around 4,600 cases in August 2012, and the average processing time was less than five months. The patrol says the backlog is down to about 1,500 cases, with a turnaround time of roughly three months.

The agency hopes to shrink that to one month.

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