Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $788,030)
The Department of Public Safety, Mississippi Forensics Laboratory System, an ISO 17025:2018 ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredited system, consists of a central full-service laboratory in Pearl and three regional labs located in Batesville, Meridian, and the Gulf Coast. The mission of the laboratory is to provide a full range of forensic services to law enforcement agencies in the state by performing testing activities that meet the stringent requirements of the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2018 and satisfy the needs of the customer. The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL) faces the challenge of providing essential forensic services to the criminal justice system of Mississippi in a time of stagnant budgets and increasing crime.
Approximately 500 convicted offender and arrestee samples are received per month to process, review, and enter into CODIS. This volume of work requires all the resources available to the CODIS unit and outsourcing remains the most efficient mechanism to provide timely database analysis. There are three (3) grant funded technical staff members making a positive contribution in the analysis of sexual assault kits and database processing as well as (1) forensic biologist performing DNA casework analysis. Also, two (2) additional staff positions funded to begin in 2022. The primary objective is to increase efficiency of sexual assault kit processing and improve capacity thereby reducing the turnaround time and backlog of unworked cases.
In order to meet the goal of the 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program, the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory System requires funds to continue to employ one (1) Forensic Scientist III, three (3) Forensic Biologist positions, two (2) Forensic Lab Technicians as well as the Information Technology position (Lead Systems Specialist) for the DNA Bioscience Unit. Primarily, the DNA CEBR Program provides funds to outsource DNA database samples for convicted offender/arrestee sample testing and equipment for capacity enhancement as well as the purchase of buccal swab collection kits for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Thereby providing a robust Mississippi DNA database in support of federal, state and local law enforcement criminal investigation.