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Montana 2021 Coverdell Formula Grant Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $296,966)

A second State Crime Lab in Billings, Montana provides a location in eastern and western Montana for processing forensic evidence. With current funding, both locations face high caseloads and the need for high quality equipment and software. It is anticipated the East Crime Lab in Billings will receive a third of all State Crime Lab submissions. With the rise in opioid and synthetic drugs entering Montana and the resultant increase in case complexity, funding is required to ensure both labs function at peak efficiency. The Montana Board of Crime Control will pass funding through to the Forensic Science Division (FSD) to replace a Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS); acquire a 3D scanning system; provide training opportunities for three forensic scientists; maintain and increase standard laboratory supplies; obtain opioid drug standards and supplies for a new toxicology method; sustain and expand the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS); and support American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators certification for five Montana county coroners. Adding certified coroners will allow the FSD to improve the uniformity of death investigations; opioid drug standards, modern instrumentation and equipment, enough laboratory supplies, and maintenance of the LIMS all increase the quality and accuracy of forensic analysis and help reduce case backlog. Ultimately improving Montana’s forensic science and medical examiner services.

Date Created: December 9, 2021