KTAR News Staff

PHOENIX — A federal investment of $600,000 will help the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office purchase DNA testing technology that will speed up the return of results, officials said Monday.

Instruments with the RapidHIT DNA enhancement technology can generate lab-quality forensic DNA profiles in 90 minutes, according to a press release.

Results usually take weeks or months to come back from state crime labs due to backlogs or higher priority casework, officials said.

“For far too long, the state of Arizona hasn’t put in enough resources to keep up in our crime labs,” Rep. Greg Stanton of Arizona, who secured funding for the technology in a House appropriations bill, said in the release.

“More and more, law enforcement agencies across the state are turning to MCSO. This investment is a big deal. It will help ease the backlog in crime labs, bring closure to victims and families more quickly and make our community a safer place to live.”

The announcement of the funding was made during a press conference attended by Stanton and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

“The most impactful part of having this equipment readily accessible is our ability to be proactive in efforts to prevent the next crime,” Penzone said in the release.

“The opportunity to have such advanced equipment for this office — and for public safety in general — is a considerable investment on behalf of our communities.”

Stanton said the funding would be used to purchase two of the faster DNA technology tools.