Mon., April 11, 2011 5:00am (EDT)

Crime Labs Losing Staff
By Joshua Stewart
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Scientists and technicians at Georgia’s state crime labs are finding greener pastures in other states, and their departure for higher wages elsewhere is making it harder for the labs to work through a backlog of cases. (Photo Courtesy of <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/93755244@N00/3945656390>Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr</a>.)
Scientists and technicians at Georgia’s state crime labs are finding greener pastures in other states, and their departure for higher wages elsewhere is making it harder for the labs to work through a backlog of cases. (Photo Courtesy of Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr.)
Scientists and technicians at Georgia’s state crime labs are finding greener pastures in other states, and their departure for higher wages elsewhere is making it harder for the labs to work through a backlog of cases.

The state’s crime labs have had about 5,000 unworked cases each month since last July.

“All of these cases, you know it takes people to work them,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mike Fordham. “As we lose personnel and we cannot hire additional personnel because of the budget constraints, then that causes the backlog to increase.”

In its monthly report, the GBI said there were 25 vacant positions in the division of forensic sciences; 10 of those are jobs for scientists. Fordham said that’s a much better number than even in December, when 23 of the 43 open jobs were for scientists.

“The scientist positions are down from what they were in December of last year because we were able to fill some of those positions with grant funds,” he said. “But still, the backlog continues.”

Fordham said using grant funds is a temporary solution, however. The state eventually will have to pay for the positions.