Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $350,448)
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Forensic Services Division (FSD) is an accredited crime laboratory under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National Accreditation Board (ANAB), a non-profit, non-governmental entity. The crime laboratory provides forensic services to more than 24 law enforcement agencies within Contra Costa County, servicing over one million residents. The FY21 DNA Capacity Enhancement forBacklog Reduction (CEBR) Program grant will be used to provide continual salary and fringe benefits for a Forensic Analyst Project (FAP) position. This full-time, grant funded employee will support the Biology/DNA Unit with specific capacity enhancement activities, such as validating new DNA methods and technologies. The FAP serving as a technician will perform DNA casework (process, record, screen and analyze DNA samples) contributing to backlog reduction. The FAP will also perform reagent preparation, sample set-up, equipment operation, quality assurance and quality control tasks. Grant funds are critical to the performance of the Biology/DNA Unit and allow dedicated staff to focus on method validations and equipment operation, ensuring that DNA samples are efficiently processed through the case management system. In addition, grant funds will be used to ensure optimum equipment performance by replacing aged equipment and performing annual preventative maintenance. Probabilistic genotyping software will be purchased to provide support when interpreting complex DNA mixtures. Grant funds will also be used to purchase consumables and optimize the laboratory space and efficiency by creating two workstations. The workstations will accommodate new staff which will increase our sample processing capabilities within the laboratory. The overall grant objectives are to increase the number of samples analyzed and reduce sample turnaround time. Using FY21 CEBR funds the crime laboratory will be better equipped to meet the needs of the community we serve.