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Reduction of DNA sample backlog

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $353,120)

San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States, with a population of approximately 1.42 million. The San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory serves the approximately 1,900 sworn members of the Department. DNA remains a vitally important part of the investigators’ approach to their casework, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in the numbers of submitted DNA laboratory requests. The Crime Laboratory DNA Unit completed approximately 1,243 cases in 2020, a nearly 398% increase from the 250 cases analyzed in 2000. Approximately 1,807 DNA requests were received into the laboratory in 2020. As detectives are used to receiving highly relevant information from our Criminalists, and as those same detectives endure their own staffing shortages and overwhelming workloads, more and more items are submitted for analysis in the hopes we might be able to provide investigative leads. The successes we have with probabilistic genotyping mixture interpretation have generated a significantly higher number of CODIS searchable profiles, providing our customers with useful information we previously were not able to obtain. Without use of grant funding to supply current instrumentation, overtime funding, additional staffing, and training, our laboratory would not be able to effectively meet the needs of the residents of San Diego. It is our goal to utilize these grant funds to meet the increased demands for sexual assault evidence examination, and continue to employ consistently high case productivity while decreasing turnaround times. We plan to do this with a combination of overtime funding, support staff funding, new technology, and additional training for our analysts. We seek $353,120 in grant funds in an attempt to achieve some important specific results.

1. Reduce the average turnaround time on DNA cases to below 50 days.

2. Increase the average number of samples analyzed per analyst per month to 50.

3. Reduce the backlog (cases over 30 days) by approximately 10%.

4. Provide mandated training to all analysts in the DNA laboratory.

5. Purchase “FaSTR” software, to integrate with our STRmix software and provide number of contributor analysis utilizing this software.
6. Purchase an IR crime lite to aid in the screening of bodily fluids, specifically blood, in the screening process of clothing, bedding and other material items.

Date Created: December 9, 2021