There was a sad story last week from the Los Angeles Times that looked at the huge backlog in fingerprint analysis by LAPD's Latent Print Unit. Things have gotten so bad that LAPD has instituted a plan to ration the number of cases where fingerprint analysis will be done.
Under the plan, which the department will roll out in coming months, each of the LAPD's 21 police stations and specialized divisions will be allotted only 10 cases each month in which fingerprints will be analyzed promptly, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said. All other cases will be placed on a waiting list. In addition, said Albanese, a handful of officers will be trained to collect prints at crime scenes in order to allow the print unit to spend more time in the lab analyzing prints.Unlike TV show detectives, real police agencies struggle with a mountain of evidence to process and analyze. Given California's budget woes, I don't expect the situation to change out there anytime soon.