Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,514,191)
This application by Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement seeks to decrease all of the state crime labs’ backlogs and decrease the sample turnaround times. In 2014, the Louisiana State Legislature mandated that each law enforcement agency report and monitor the testing of sexual assault kits. The state of Louisiana is facing stricter budgets, which directly impacts the funding available to all crime labs in the state. This reduction in funding could reduce the funding available for laboratory staff, supplies, equipment, service contracts, and training. The proposed 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program award will be used by Louisiana to continue the work and success of previous years’ efforts and funding. Efforts will be directed toward the goals of improving the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services, eliminating or reducing the backlog of analysis of forensic science evidence, and training. LCLE will execute sub-awards with 2021 grant funds to four (4) regional forensic laboratories (Acadiana Criminalistics Laboratory, North Louisiana Criminalistics Commission, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Southwest Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory), one (1) parish coroner’s office (St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office) and the Louisiana State Police Crime lab. These funds will be used for specific objectives supporting the above stated goals. Funds will be allocated for overtime for personnel, travel, training and registration expenses, equipment and supply purchases, equipment maintenance agreements and consultants/contracts. Evidence of such activity will manifest itself through the use of quarterly fiscal expenditure reports and program progress reports as well as on-site monitoring visits of sub-grantees. This information will be presented in semiannual progress reports to BJA. Performance metrics captured include: the average number of days to process a sample at the beginning and end of the grant period, the average number of backlogged cases at the beginning and end of the grant period, the number of backlogged forensic cases analyzed with Coverdell funds and the number of forensic science and medical examiner personnel training programs. Additional performance metrics captured include: the number of agencies/organizations seeking and obtaining initial accreditation, the number of agencies/organizations using FY2021 funding for fees to maintain accreditation and actual number of agencies/organizations receiving funding.