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FY2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program - St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office (Indian River Crime Laboratory)

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $266,937)

The Indian River Crime Laboratory (IRCL) services the nineteenth judicial circuit of Florida. Several bottlenecks as well as additional areas for capacity enhancement have been identified and are listed below. To accommodate the increasing number of biology case submissions, the IRCL has hired additional analysts and has been planning for additional instrumentation. The current laboratory space in combination with these changes has led to bottlenecks. Renovating the Biology Section and obtaining additional Mideo workstations will create additional workspace for more analysts to work simultaneously. This is expected to increase the number of DNA samples processed long term and reduce long-term turnaround. Creating a temporary laboratory facility during renovations will help prevent a suspension of casework. The IRCL has identified an aging instrument that needs updating. Updating this instrument before it becomes inoperable will help prevent an interruption in casework and, therefore, an increase in turnaround time and backlog. The IRCL has identified two objectives that will increase the short-term capacity to process more samples. Maintaining an analyst part time that was previously funded by CEBR awards is expected to increase the number of samples processed once training is complete. Analyzing forty-nine (49) old sexual assault cases that tested positive for semen but did not yield a DNA profile due to technology at the time will increase the number of samples processed and is expected to increase the number of DNA profiles eligible for upload into the Combined DNA Index System. Contracting with qualified vendors for both the analysis and the technical review of the resulting data will help the IRCL maintain capacity for current casework. Being a small laboratory, the IRCL is highly affected by the diversion of personnel resources away from casework when implementing new technologies. Consequently, it is essential that any proposed projects have a high probability of success. Allowing three analysts to attend trainings with other forensic scientists will help cultivate new ideas and allow the IRCL to gather feedback about those ideas from the laboratories that have already implemented them. This will help improve capacity and turnaround time in the future when these new ideas are implemented. The proposed approaches to these challenges are detailed in the Proposal Narrative of this application, including a list of the goals and objectives. Itemized costs associated with this proposal can be found in the web-based budget documentation.

Date Created: December 2, 2021