Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $2,375,922)
2021 CALIFORNIA COVERDELL PROGRAM PROPOSAL ABSTRACT The 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant affords qualifying forensic laboratories in California an opportunity to improve their efficiency and effectiveness to provide forensic science services through the improvement of the quality and timeliness of forensic services, the reduction of the number of backlogged cases, facilitation of accreditation of forensic laboratories, and address emerging forensic science issues. Funds awarded through this grant will allow California’s local forensic science laboratories, medical examiners’ offices, and coroners’ offices to continue to provide a valuable tool to law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies throughout the state. Many challenges continue to face California’s forensic laboratories – the transferring of inmates from the state system to each county via Assembly Bill 109; the changing of many felony convictions to misdemeanors via Proposition 47; the parole of non-violent felons via Proposition 57; and, the consistently high turnover of qualified personnel to cover core components of forensic analysis negatively impact the state. Each California crime laboratory, medical examiners’ office and coroners’ office is unique. Cal OES will utilize the 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant funding to support the innovative ways to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services. California’s Coverdell Program allows qualified forensic laboratories the flexibility to use a combination of any, or all, of the program objectives in order to meet the overall state goals and federal intent of the program.