Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $283,086)
FY 21 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program (Formula)
Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory
The Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory (TPDCL) DNA Unit workflow has over the last three years been affected by the requirements of the 2017 Arizona state law requiring timely submission of all sexual assault kits (SAKs) for DNA analysis. These cases/items require a specialized approach, as well as dedicated staff, which the DNA Unit has prioritized with its limited resources. The City of Tucson has not funded additional Criminalist positions in the TPDCL DNA Unit to address this change in submissions and the Crime Laboratory has accommodated the DNA analysis of all SAKs with its current personnel.
The FY21 CEBR grant will allow TPDCL to fund two full-time DNA Criminalist positions, to include salary and employee related expenses EREs, to analyze backlogged DNA cases and as such continue to reduce the number of cases awaiting DNA analysis. It is expected that each DNA Criminalist will annually analyze 110 cases consisting of approximately 550 samples. Together, two DNA Criminalists will annually analyze 220 cases, consisting of 1100 samples, each year, benefiting the City of Tucson community by providing DNA analysis for the Tucson Police Department cases.
In addition, the FY21 CEBR grant will allow TPDCL to expand its capabilities for capillary electrophoresis by funding the purchase a second instrument for this step of the DNA Unit’s workflow. A new, small-scale genetic analyzer will ensure that the DNA Unit can provide continuous operations and services by providing a back-up piece of equipment for this crucial step in DNA analysis. It is expected that this instrument will be used not only if and when the Unit’s current genetic analyzer goes out of service but also for smaller batches, as appropriate.