WASHINGTON — After internal and external pressure to process DNA samples at local police departments, the Baltimore congressional delegation has allocated almost $500,000 in federal funds to clear up backlogs for local crime labs.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) announced $477,000 in federal funding for the Baltimore County Police Department and the Baltimore City Police Crime Laboratory to process DNA samples.

The Baltimore County Police Department will receive $225,000 and the Baltimore City Police Crime Laboratory will receive $252,000. The funding, awarded through the Department of Justice’s DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) program, will be used to increase the capacity of each Departments’ Laboratory processing, in an effort to reduce the number of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis and prevent a backlog of samples.

“The national backlog in DNA processing must be addressed. These funds represent a first step toward tackling this issue and will help solve criminal cases in Baltimore, as we work to improve the system nationwide.” said the Members. “Together, we will continue fighting for resources to support and strengthen Maryland’s criminal justice system.”

CEBR grants are awarded by the National Institute of Justice. Eligible applicants are able to determine what portion of their anticipated funding should be used for capacity building purposes and what portion should be used for analysis of forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples.