Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $296,966)
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory (ASCL) is a full service forensic laboratory serving the entire state of Arkansas. This includes 75 counties with a population of approximately 3 million individuals. The ASCL is accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) in the ISO17025 Program. The ASCL employs approximately ninety (90) analysts in the disciplines of CODIS, Forensic DNA, Drug Analysis, Forensic Toxicology, Physical Evidence (Trace and Serology Units), Firearms/Toolmarks, Latent Prints and Digital Evidence. In addition, the ASCL has a Medical Examiner's Office. Problem Statement: Arkansas is experiencing an increase in drug overdose cases due to the opioid epidemic, which is causing a greater demand on conducting autopsies in the Medical Examiner’s section. The current digital x-ray system requires multiple images to be taken per autopsy which is timely and not as comprehensive. Project Strategy: 1. Purchase a full-body x-ray imaging system 2. To provide professional development opportunities to forensic analysts and Medical Examiner staff 3. To continue the ANAB and NAME accreditation programs Anticipated Outcomes: There will be improved efficiencies in the Medical Examiner’s section to handle the increased caseload. Attendees at National/Regional meetings and training seminars will enhance quality and/or timeliness improvements that can be implemented at the ASCL.