Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $250,000)
The City of Durham through the Durham Police Department (DPD) is requesting $250,000 in funding from the USDOJ/OJP/BJA under the 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Program Grant. The DPD has a backlog of over 4,000 latent print evidence submissions that have not been analyzed or completed by the current full-time Latent Print Examiners (LPE). The cases that have not been analyzed consist of submissions form 2017 - current, and include Part 1 Violent Crimes as well as other felony crimes that do not have a statute of limitation based on North Carolina state law. The backlogged cases from 2017 - 2019 have not been subjected to all appropriate forensic testing because of a lack of resources and personnel.
The DPD proposes to utilize Paul Coverdell Grant funding to purchase a needed latent print database computer and software through Idemia and to hire LPE contractors though Ron Smith & Associates, Incorporated (RS&A), which is a single source private forensic laboratory that is accredited through ANSI National Accreditation Board under ISL/IEC 17025. The computer equipment and software will allow RS&A personnel to complete DPD's latent print casework remotely, thereby providing a significant cost savings by eliminating unnecessary travel and relocation expenses for LPE contractors. The overall clearance rates for Part 1 Violent Crimes in Durham was below 40% and the overall clearance rates for felony Property Crimes in Durham was below 20% for 2017 - 2019.
If awarded the Pauld Coverdell Grant, the DPD will send backlogged felony crimes to RS&A to assist in clearing open cases in Qualified Opportunity Areas (High Poverty) and provide support to crime victims by providing closure and potential convictions. This project will be part of an overall reduction strategy by the DPD to eliminate the latent print evidence backlog.