Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $222,597)
Baltimore County is the third largest subdivision in the State of Maryland, and is home to the county’s 828,431 citizens (Census Bureau ACS estimate). The Baltimore County Police Department’s Crime Laboratory responds to the needs of this large and diverse population.
FY 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program funding is requested to increase the capacity of the Biology Lab to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis, and preventing a backlog of DNA samples. Expected results of the two-year program are an increase in DNA throughput, a reduction in DNA sample backlog, an increase in the timely delivery of forensic evidence to investigators, and an increased percentage of DNA profiles resulting in a CODIS match.
The program will increase lab capacity, efficiency, and productivity through implementation of long-term capacity enhancement activities and short-term direct case analysis activities. The project includes introduction of equipment and technology, revised processes, and continuing education for analysts, as well as the purchase of DNA analysis supplies, and funding for private vendors to complete forensic case sample analyses.
Grant funds will be used for procurement of the following:
Equipment/Supplies: 1) four Swab Dryers and filters to dry swabs used to collect evidence; 2) two color scanners and fourteen TB external hard drives to scan and save DNA case files; 3) two Leica A60F desktop stereoscopes for the extraction laboratory’s direct- to- DNA processing; 4) two Network Attached Storage (NAS) boxes for backup of the lab’s database and logs; and 5) two UV Crossliners to sterilize tubes used in the DNA process.
Technology/Other: 1) annual upgrades for the lab’s two (2) STRmix software licenses; 2) validation of the differential extraction wash process on the lab’s QIA cube robots; and 3) annual support for four BEAST LIMS licenses.
Continuing education: 1) technical training at the FBI’s Technical Leader Summit, Promega’s ISHI Meeting, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting, and the Green Mountain DNA Conference.
Outsourcing: To address a backlog of cold homicide cases and to facilitate case resolution for victims, the Biology Lab will outsource DNA testing of six (6) cold-case homicide cases.
This program will be managed by the Police Department’s Biology Laboratory Supervisor, who will record and report project performance throughout the grant term.