Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this week that the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), part of the AG’s office, is processing DNA evidence in record time.
DeWine says “DNA results took approximately 125 days to complete” under Rich Cordray, the previous AG. But he has them down to 20 days now.
It would certainly be great news if it was true. But the AG’s announcement, and the facts it contained, leave us a little concerned.
DeWine ran on this issue, complaining that Cordray’s AG office was taking much too long to process evidence. So it’s no surprise that now, as DeWine begins his reelection campaign for 2014, he’s announcing his big “successes” over the past two years.
BCI lab times were such an important part of DeWine’s 2009 campaign messaging that Politifact took up the issue.
Back then, DeWine claimed BCI tests were delayed ‘up to 6 months’ under Cordray. That’s 180 days in case you’re counting. But PolitiFact did the research and determined that “The average turnaround time in processing DNA evidence has dropped from 100 days in 2009 to 71 days in 2010.”
71 days. Not 180 days as DeWine claimed in 2009. And not 125 days, as DeWine claimed this week.
The Plain Dealer took a look at the numbers in more detail this weekend and concluded that DeWine’s “comparison included only one month of the year” and the average turnaround time for 2012 was actually 62 days.
Also worth mentioning: PolitiFact attributed the big drop in processing time under Cordray to “increased staffing … as well as increased use of robotics in processing the DNA evidence.”
DeWine credits exactly the same things to his process improvement results: more robots and more staff.
Given that DeWine has no problem making up numbers when it comes to the previous AG’s performance, we’re somewhat skeptical when he puts out his own numbers that seem to be greatly improved.
But even if they are true, it seems worth asking: aren’t these EXACTLY the same improvements started under Cordray? Isn’t this Cordray’s plan? Co-opted by DeWine?