Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $581,022)
FY 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR)
The Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, (I-MCFSA) is a local government agency, which provides Indianapolis, Marion County, State, and Federal criminal justice system with forensic laboratory services. We provide prompt, accurate and quality forensic analysis on requests submitted by Public Safety agencies in the Criminal Justice System. The I-MCFSA performs scientific examinations of physical evidence pertaining to crimes occurring in the City of Indianapolis and County of Marion. The laboratory also supports federal investigations in other Indiana Counties as part of joint investigation task forces originating in Marion County. The I-MCFSA furnishes expert testimony in these areas when requested.
The Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services agency operates a local, full service, ISO 17025 accredited forensic science laboratory within the County of Marion and the City of Indianapolis and is accredited under the ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board) program. The accreditation consisted of a very comprehensive assessment in which every aspect of the laboratory’s operation, in addition to the Crime Scene Unit, and was carefully reviewed to include its management practices, evidence handling procedures, and laboratory security procedures.
The continued effort to eliminate an increase in violent crime, which is at an all-time high, includes the I-MCFSA as an integral partner within the various criminal justice and public safety agencies of the city and county. Reduction in violent crime continues to be an issue that Marion County and Indianapolis government entities have attempted to address over the past several years, with 2021 being no different. The laboratory continues to pursue the goal of reducing the amount of time between submissions for requests of analysis through case completion to a maximum of six weeks in all forensic disciplines which, in turn, assists with the timely investigation and prosecution of violent criminals.
The I-MCFSA met requirements, from local government, to reduce approximately 5% of the operating budget, each year, for the previous nine years. The lab is currently operating on a base budget that was, effectively, in place in 2007. All overtime funds, the majority of costs associated with training, and a significant reduction in supplies, equipment, and other ‘services’ were cut from the budget. The continuing budgetary challenges we face directly impact the timely analysis of forensic evidence.
The goal of this proposal is to continue to provide and improve the quality and efficiency of forensic science services by providing laboratory overtime, supplies, calibration costs, equipment/software service agreements, and training/development, to assist the Biology Unit in analyzing cases and completing training opportunities, thereby continuing to improve efficiency and assist in backlog reduction.