R.I. crime lab gets $297K to curb gun backlog

U.S. ATTORNEY ZACHARY A. CUNHA on Monday said the R.I. State Crime Laboratory has been awarded a $297,000 federal grant to reduce a backlog of firearm-related cases. PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PROVIDENCE – The Justice Department on Monday awarded a $297,000 Project Safe Neighborhoods grant to the R.I. State Crime Laboratory to reduce a backlog of firearm-related cases.

U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha said the grant will be used to hire a firearms examiner to curb the backlog of expended cartridge casings and projectiles. The backlog grew from zero cases in April 2020 to more than 280 cases when the funding was requested this past May.

“Getting violent criminals and their guns off the street is critical to the safety of our communities,” said Cunha. “Project Safe Neighborhoods leverages federal and state law enforcement partnerships, data and resources to do just that. This grant, which will help our Rhode Island partners to quickly move potentially significant evidence through the state crime lab, is a critical part of our efforts.”

The crime lab serves the entire state, including state and municipal law enforcement agencies, the Office of the State Medical Examiner and the R.I. Office of the Attorney General.

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