Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $296,966)
Project Abstract Mississippi Forensics Laboratory 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program Formula Application: $202,371 The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL), is an accredited, state funded forensic laboratory system consisting of a central full-service laboratory in Pearl and three regional laboratories located in Batesville, Meridian and the Gulf Coast. Another year of level state funding prohibits the growth in laboratory capacity that the increasing MSFL case load demands. Forensic staff unable to work during the coronavirus pandemic increased the backlog as well. The goal of the 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program is to provide laboratories with the tools needed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic services that they provide. The MSFL proposes to accomplish this goal by reducing the backlog of forensic casework and improving the quality of services. Funds will be used to replace a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer instrument to address the analysis of synthetic opioids and other complex drugs of abuse. An increase in the Firearms and Toolmark examiner staff requires an additional comparison scope to improve capacity and efficiency in the Gulf Coast laboratory. Continuing education for the forensic scientists in their area of expertise will provide individual certification requirements. Annual maintenance and audit fees associated with the accreditation of the MSFL by the ANSI National Accreditation Board for January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022 will be funded. Deliverables include a reduction in turnaround time of casework in the Drug Chemistry and Firearms Examination Units. Certified analysts will maintain their professional status by acquiring continuing education units and the MSFL will maintain its accreditation.