ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Forensic scientists with the Illinois State Police (ISP) are using their laboratory skills to help the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ten scientists and one DNA research coordinator with ISP Division of Forensic Services (DFS) are lending their expertise to help the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) with COVID-19 testing.
The volunteer team members are preparing samples, conducting tests and assisting IDPH with related paperwork.
The scientists are stationed at IDPH laboratories in Carbondale, Springfield and Chicago.
ISP said one volunteer is specifically working with IDPH on a research and development team to assist with testing enhancement and reducing turn-around times.
“Our forensic scientists are unsung heroes who are often the critical difference in the pursuit of justice,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Even in the midst of a global pandemic, these volunteer scientists are bravely stepping up and serving in ways they could not have imagined to protect public safety. Everyone in Illinois should be proud of them."
The DFS volunteers completed required training before they started helping IDPH with the COVID-19 testing process on March 23.
They will continue to help IDPH as long as necessary.
An additional 14 other DFS forensic scientists have shown interest in volunteering to help IDPH.
"This pandemic requires all hands ondeck and I want to thank the Illinois State Police laboratorians for helping in our response,” said IDPH Director Dr Ngozi Ezike.
ISP forensic labs are not idol during the COVID-19 response.
All labs remain open and staffed.
ISP said the DFS scientists are practicing social distancing and all requests from prosecutors during COVID-19 protocols are completed.
Since March 17, ISP reports DFS has completed 3946 forensic assignments.