Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $296,966)
VIRGIN ISLANDS 2021 PAUL COVERDELL FORENSIC SCIENCE IMPROVEMENT
The Medical Examiners (ME) conduct autopsies in the Juan F. Luis Hospital of St. Croix and the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital of St. Thomas. The Virgin Islands hospitals’ morgue/autopsy suites are not built to manage medical-legal death investigations, in that the design and capacity are not ideal for the processing of crime evidence. The autopsy suites must be expanded and maintained to store more bodies, and provide spacing for the deceased loved ones to identify the bodies. Autopsy room equipment and tools must be upgraded. Forensic evidence collected during autopsies and investigations in many instances are transported off-island to the Federal Bureau of Investigations for final evaluation and results. This system of managing forensic evidence must be improved to ensure that the analysis and delivery of such evidence is secure, accurate and without delay. Backlogs with the processing of evidence delay crime scene investigations and hamper the prosecution of criminal cases. After thorough review and collaboration with other stakeholders, it was determined that the Virgin Islands needed to create a stand-alone autopsy suite. The Virgin Islands Department of Justice’s Medical Examiner’s Office are in need of the requested resources. VIDOJ is requesting 2021 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant funding in the amount of totaling $264,698.00. Grant funds will be used for operating supplies: $41,695.00. It will also support other costs in the amount of $177,158.20; travel and associated training totaling $19,375.00 and indirect costs totaling $26,469.80
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