Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $821,735)
Summary of project - Over the last year the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the State of Connecticut to face numerous significant budgetary challenges. These challenges have prevented the Division of Scientific Services from hiring sufficient additional staff or increasing the consumable supply budget to meet the State’s demand for forensic biology and DNA analysis. Primary activities, products, and deliverables - The project goals and objectives and expected outcomes and major deliverables are: To reduce the backlog of forensic DNA cases by about 795 and, as appropriate, enter profiles into state and national DNA databases To increase the testing capacity of the Forensic Biology/DNA Section through the extension of the STACS Casework Maintenance contract To increase the professional development of staff Grant funds will support overtime, fringe benefits, supplies, forensic casework outsourcing, attendance at scientific conferences, and other costs. Supplies (185 cases), overtime (60 cases), and outsourcing (550 cases) will reduce the casework backlog by 795 cases. All eligible casework DNA profiles will be entered into CODIS and uploaded to NDIS, when appropriate. We will complete about 15% more forensic cases with funds than would be possible without Federal support, thus reducing the turnaround time by 15 days from what would be possible without Federal support. The capacity of the Division of Scientific Services laboratory will be increased using grant-funded overtime, fringe benefits, and supplies. Without the Federal support, the size of the forensic casework backlog would be significantly larger than with the Federal support. The capacity of the Division of Scientific Services laboratory will be increased through the purchase of a one-year extension of the STACS Casework Maintenance contract. Without the Federal support the Forensic Biology/DNA Section will not be able to continue to customize the LIMS software package to further automate and streamline section worksheets. Staff continuing education will be achieved by attendance at three national meetings. The attending staff will present to all DNA Unit staff upon their return. Attendance at the meetings will improve capacity of the FB/DNA Section and professional development of staff. Service area and who will benefit - The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection requests Federal grant funds to support the Division of Scientific Services, which serves the entire state of Connecticut with a population of 3.6 million.