Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $395,691)
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) Forensic Science Laboratory is the agency responsible for the analysis of evidentiary samples from possible crimes for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners offices within the state of Kansas. The KBI has four laboratories within the system, three of which conduct DNA testing. The three laboratories conducting DNA (casework) testing are Great Bend (West Region Laboratory); Topeka (Forensic Science Center), and Kansas City. The KBI laboratory in Topeka also houses the Databank Laboratory.
The KBI Biology Section of the Forensic Laboratory currently has 18 qualified DNA scientists. Two of the qualified DNA scientists also serve as supervisors. One qualified DNA scientist serves as technical leader, one is the trainer for three scientists in training and one is dedicated to research, development, validation and training.
Federal funding from this award will be used for the following objectives.
To fund salary and benefits for a Forensic Scientist III (FSIII) in the Topeka Laboratory (casework) and a part-time Laboratory Technician for the Great Bend Laboratory (casework). Both of these positions have been funded by the previous DNA Backlog Reduction grants and both positions will support the casework section. The FSIII scientist is dedicated to research and validation activities with the goal of backlog reduction and improved turnaround times through process improvement and new technology implementation. The Laboratory Technician performs support functions which allows DNA scientists to remain engaged in casework activities. Both positions allow other scientists in the Biology Section to commit their time to casework tasks, decreasing backlog and case turnaround times.
Provide training and the required continuing education for nine analysts.
Provide funding for overtime hours for Forensic Scientist IIIs and Forensic Scientist IIs. This funding will allow time for additional casework tasks to be completed, from working in the Laboratory to reviewing cases and report writing, resulting in a decrease in backlog and turnaround times.
Purchase extraction robots for performing non-differential and differential DNA extractions. Utilizing robotics for these tasks will increase efficiency, allowing scientists time for other casework activities.
Purchase laboratory consumables for the extraction robots to be used in their validation and casework.