Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,247,354)
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory proposes to utilize the “BJA FY 21 DNA-CEBR” program to maintain and supplement the nationally-recognized analyst throughput and decrease the number of backlogged DNA cases, while also decreasing case turnaround time. With this application, the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory is requesting funds to maintain 7 DNA Analyst positions, including salaries, benefits, laboratory supplies for approximately 4000 samples, and continued training. Additionally, the laboratory is requesting funds to continue Y-chromosomal STR testing for approximately 3000 samples, as well as funding to send approximately 200 backlogged non-violent crime samples to vendor laboratories while analysts remain in training. Finally, the lab is requesting funds to replace or supplement laboratory equipment and software to ease congestion and inefficient workflow bottlenecks.
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory is the only forensic laboratory in the State of Arkansas and serves all law enforcement and investigative agencies located within the state. Efforts to maximize efficiency have resulted in the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory achieving national recognition for efficiency with both funding and analyst capacity. The State of Arkansas has enacted statutes which direct investigating agencies to submit all Sexual Assault Kits for testing to the laboratory as well as direct the laboratory to conduct testing on those kits in an expedited manor. Other violent crimes are similarly prioritized by laboratory policy in consultation with investigating agencies and the courts.