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The District’s backlog of unsolved violent crimes may finally get a fresh look this fall. In the District’s fiscal 2004 budget, which passed May 6, $800,000 has been allocated for a program under which the FBI will train city employees—not necessarily from the Metropolitan Police Department—to perform DNA tests on evidence from old D.C. homicide and rape cases. Under the plan, which the FBI proposed several years ago and offered again this year, District staff will work at the feds’ laboratory in Quantico, reading samples and checking them against the FBI database. “This is very good news for old cases, because we have a lot of cases with DNA evidence,” says D.C. Council Judiciary Committee Chair Kathy Patterson, who pushed for the allocation. Beyond that, she says, the program will prepare a core staff for the District’s own planned forensics laboratory. “It’s a no-brainer, I think,” Patterson says. —Jason Cherkis