ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – The Taylor County Attorney’s Office is asking the state of Texas for money to meet the county’s growing need for forensic testing.
Taylor County District Attorney James Hicks petitioned the Commissioners Court Tuesday for permission to apply for a $ 50,000 grant.
Forensic testing, Hicks said, sped up the process and put the right people behind bars.
However, Taylor County has limited resources and cannot always afford to test every item needed in a case.
A blood or breath test for a DWI can cost law enforcement around $ 180 on average, according to Hicks.
Item testing in cases of sexual assault and murder can be even more.
“A test can cost $ 500 to $ 600 per item, and you might have 10 to 15 items,” Hicks said. “You speak of an enormous expense.”
Law enforcement is largely handling the initial tests for certain crimes, but the DA office is now ready to offer its help.
“The prosecution must be able to support them financially,” said Hicks.
When this is granted, the extra money will act as a cushion in certain cases where additional testing is required.
Hicks said using forensic testing could also help his office cope with the long list of cases stacked by COVID-19.
“Most of my trials were probably just waiting lists for 12 to 18 months. That probably doubled, ”said Hicks.
Hicks says, in some cases, a DNA test could solve the case without him going to court, which would also help his office more efficiently handle the lagged cases.
“You may be able to save the cost of one process and the time of one process and move on to another case,” Hicks said.
Hicks received approval to apply for the grant on Tuesday.
His office is now waiting for a decision from the state.