Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Ron A. Cisler

Second Advisor

Janis T. Eells

Committee Members

Dean T. Nardelli, Fred C. Anapol

Keywords

Backlog, Case Completion Time, Crime Lab, Crime Laboratory, Population Health

Abstract

ABSTRACT

EXAMINING THE ASSOCIATION OF CRIME LABORATORY PRACTICES, INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL DETERMINANTS, AND DNA CASE COMPLETION TIME AND BACKLOG

by

Eva Marie Lewis King

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2015

Under the Supervision of Dr. Ron Cisler

Crime laboratories across the country have reported caselog information that supports the fact that case submissions have resulted in very large DNA backlogs. The onset of these DNA backlogs developed a public safety and population health crisis. Literature suggests crime laboratories faced submission of DNA cases in a manner similar to the onset of an epidemic. Literature also suggests the use of novel approaches to tackling crime and public safety issues which influenced the approach to this study. Using a population health framework, the purpose of this study is to examine the association of determinants, the Crime Lab policies and programs, and the outcomes of case completion time, backlog status and the percent of cases completed annually. The specific aim of this study is to examine the association of Crime Lab practices, internal and external determinants, and outcomes on the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory-Milwaukee DNA caselog for: 1) Case completion time; 2) Backlog status; and 3) Percent of backlogged cases remaining at the start of each year examined. This study follows an epidemiological retrospective study design and applies a population health framework to examine Crime Lab data for caselog status. Electronic case file data from December 2007 through December 2013 stored in the Laboratory Information Management System BEAST was retrieved using Crystal Reports®. Descriptive statistics using averages and counts with descriptive graphs were used to examine the data. The case completion time is derived by determining the difference in days to completion since the time of submission. The backlog definition of use here is a case in the Crime Lab greater than 30 days from case submission to case completion. A set of possible determinants including Crime Lab access, internal personnel behaviors and external suspect behaviors are indicated by case submissions, case completions and case offense type respectively. These determinants, the Crime Lab policies and programs, and the outcome of average case completion time, backlog status, and percent cases completed were examined. The associations of the examined determinants, Crime Lab policies and programs, case completion time and backlog status revealed a reduced case completion time, a reduced backlog, and an increase in case completion percentages. The implications of this study that meaningful examination of a DNA backlog using a population health framework are discussed with recommendation to explore the suspect geographical determinant and suspect biological determinants of age, sex and race for future study.

Available for download on Friday, May 26, 2017

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