MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Following the death of Eliza Fletcher, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation revealed that it takes nearly a year for its lab technicians to analyze some rape kits. Now some Shelby County commissioners want the state to do more to speed up that timeline.
During Wednesday’s committee meetings, commissioners are set to consider a resolution calling on the governor and General Assembly to provide more funding for the TBI’s crime labs. During the latest budget cycle, the agency only received half the money it requested to hire lab personnel.
Only four forensic scientists are on staff at the TBI crime lab in Jackson. Last year, they received evidence from more than 600 cases – more than half from Shelby County.
During a trip to Memphis on September 29, Gov. Bill Lee announced he, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton were taking steps to accelerate the hiring of 25 additional forensic workers at TBI labs across the state. Eight new hires will be assigned to the crime lab in Jackson.
The TBI says it needs more than 70 additional workers to process rape kits in a timely manner.