Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $350,504)
Colorado’s has two objectives for the 2021 Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement funds, first, to assist laboratories and medical examiners offices in their efforts to improve current operations in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science services provided throughout the state. Secondly, to work toward reducing the backlog that currently exists for processing and analyzing forensic science cases. 2021 Coverdell funds will support four laboratories and one medical examiner’s office. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is committed to providing high quality services and support to law enforcement agencies throughout CO. The CBI will utilize 2021 Coverdell Forensic Science funds to specifically address the increased backlog due to the opioid epidemic in the following disciplines: drug chemistry, latent prints, firearms, and toxicology. Specifically 2021 program funds will be used for training of individual scientists in discipline-specific skills and overtime of lab staff. To improve the quality and timeliness of Denver’s forensic services, the Denver Police Crime Laboratory and Denver’s Office of the Medical Examiner (OME) will both receive funds from the 2021 Coverdell program. The OME will be pursuing training opportunities that contribute to the maintenance of its accreditation, the National Association for Medical Examiners (NAME), purchasing cameras for death scene and autopsies, and pursuing ISO 17020 accreditation. The Crime Laboratory will retain an administrative assistant to provide administrative support to all laboratory personnel and allow Forensic Scientist to focus on evidence analysis. The Colorado Springs Metro Crime Laboratory (MCL) provides forensic science services to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. The MCL is focused on enhancing efficiency in order to process the increasing number of requests it receives in a timely manner and seeks to purchase supplies and equipment that will improve operational efficiency in its Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit and Firearms Unit. The Northern Colorado Regional Forensic Lab (NCRFL) is a consortium of 5 law enforcement agencies and CBI staff that have combined staff to provide forensic services to the Northern Colorado region. 2021 Coverdell funds will be utilized to train forensic scientists in their area of expertise including Digital Multimedia Evidence (DME) analysis to be used in the processing of electronic devices associated with the illegal distribution of synthetic opioids.