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FY2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
New Castle
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $461,430)

Opportunity O-BJA-2021-28001 Program Abstract- The Division of Forensic Science is the agency that is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Delaware. Delaware Code (Title 29, Chapter 47) designates the DE DFS as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected by the Delaware Department of Corrections from all convicted felons; the DE DFS is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant DNA profiles in the Delaware State DNA Index System. The state of Delaware has seen an increase in the number of cases submitted to the DFS-DNA unit for DNA analysis roughly every year (not 2020). This is partly due to an increase in sexual assault case submissions as a result of SAKI (Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, where all sexual assault cases will be tested, even though we are not required by legislation to do so), and partly due to a general rise, over time, in submissions on all types of cases. However, in 2020, the level of cases coming into the office actually decreased. This decrease in case submissions started in the middle of March, 2020 when the pandemic occurred due to COVID-19 and agencies were bringing in less cases for a period of time. Our office altered some procedures for safety issues, then the cases submissions started to go back to normal. At the beginning of 2020 we had 1 case that was in backlog waiting to be assigned. Our turn- around time (TAT) was 27.1 days (submission to completion). By April of 2021 we had 35 cases in backlog, and our TAT had gone up to 57.3 days. A big reason for this was that we had staffing issues. We were operating with less analysts and we had a submission surge at the beginning of 2021. The DNA unit is attempting to regain the TAT and backlog numbers that we had in 2020 utilizing the ever-limited resources from the state as well as funds from this project. One main goal is to decrease the TAT as well as the backlog of cases waiting to be assigned. With the funds from this particular project we expect to achieve the following: 1. Decrease current forensic DNA case backlog through the purchasing new equipment and supplies. 2. Maintain the zero backlog we currently have in the database section as well, through the purchasing new equipment and supplies. 3. Providing the required continuing education for each analyst. The DE DFS - DNA Unit can expect to complete at least 250 cases by the end of this award period. The agency also expects to work at least 1,250 DNA database samples using Federal funding. The TAT is expected to be decreased to 45 days or less, with the goal getting back to 2020 numbers or less. The analysts’ throughput in the casework section is expected to increase as well.

Date Created: December 3, 2021