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KCPD crime lab says it's clearing violent crimes much more quickly than national average

Posted at 9:20 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 09:56:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Police Department opened its new, state-of-the-art crime lab in May 2018. Today, it's getting plenty of use.

Just last month, Kansas City saw nine shootings in a 24-hour span. On August 2, KCPD Capt. Lionel Colon told 41 Action News, "I spent the week with a lot of these detectives really, and, uh, they are exhausted. I mean that's just the easiest way to explain it. And they are frustrated, along with everyone on the police department and in the community."

Now, there's a bit of hope. In this blog post, KCPD Chief Rick Smith cited the department's 74 percent homicide clearance rate. That's a six-year high. The crime lab is also putting up strong numbers.

Linda Netzel, director of the crime lab, said their job is, "Very physically and very mentally demanding."

The CSI team has lowered its turn around for all violent crimes from an average of 179 days to an average of 136 days, even with an additional 200 samples reported.

Netzel also says her team outperforms the national average of crimes cleared per CSI team member. Across the country, that number is 34 cases per year. The KCPD CSI team is at 113 cases per year.

"They have to follow the procedures. They have to do it all the same each time and do it under mounting pressure to do it quickly because of the number of homicides we're experiencing and do it accurately and then be ready to get on the witness stand and defend all the decisions that they made," Netzel added.