Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $296,966)
The North Dakota Office of Attorney General Crime Laboratory Division (NDOAG-CLD) is faced with the ongoing need for continuing education, required certification, and on-going training needs. In addition, the laboratory faces delays in turnaround times due to manual processes and increased caseload. Years of severe budget cuts require the laboratory to rely heavily on the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program formula dollars. Fiscal Year 2021 funds will be utilized to continue to provide required training and continuing education for laboratory personnel. Additionally, funds will be utilized to hire a full time-temporary Forensic Scientist for the Latent Print Unit. Due to the resignation of the Forensic Scientist in the Latent Print Unit in February 2021, the NDOAG-CLD had to remove Friction Ridge analysis from its Scope of Accreditation. The loss of this accredited discipline has been detrimental to North Dakota Law Enforcement Agencies. The goal is to hire a Forensic Scientist and to provide training for two Forensic Scientists. The training will be a twenty-week training program at an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited private laboratory which will produce a Latent Print Examiner who can immediately make a substantial impact on the operation of the NDOAG-CLD. The anticipated outcome is to add Friction Ridge to the NDOAG-CLD’s Scope of Accreditation and to maintain educated and trained Forensic Scientists that possess adequate knowledge in their specific discipline to provide results and answer questions as requested or required by the legislature, law enforcement, or court proceeding, with confidence and credibility. In addition, the NDOAG-CLD will be able to maintain the accuracy, reliability, and credibility of results obtained through forensic analysis of samples submitted for identification. The laboratory improvements will greatly increase efficiencies and reduce turn-around times for all disciplines involved as well as increase the quality of forensic science services offered by the State.