Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $382,119)
The North Dakota Office of Attorney General (NDOAG) Crime Laboratory Division is the agency that is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and coroners with the state. North Dakota Century Code 31-13 also designates the NDOAG Crime Laboratory Division as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected from all registered offenders and convicted felons, as well as all felony arrestees in the state of North Dakota. Additionally, the laboratory is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant profiles in the North Dakota State Index System (SDIS) and uploading the qualified profiles into the National DNA Index System (NDIS). The NDOAG Crime Laboratory Division is requesting to use FY 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction formula grant dollars to work towards the laboratory and division goals of helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA casework and DNA database samples awaiting analysis. Specifically, the laboratory is requesting to utilize the federal dollars to purchase supplies as well as funds to contract with a vendor to conduct the bi-annually required external Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) audit of the DNA Unit. Supplies purchased will be used to process, screen, and analyze forensic DNA casework and/or database samples. The laboratory is also requesting to use this federal funding to hire one temporary analyst for the DNA Unit to assist in processing casework to reduce the overall backlog of cases. The laboratory plans to use funding to provide continuing education opportunities for staff members to meet accreditation standards and the Quality Assurance Standards issued by the FBI. Three DNA analysts will attend the 2022 Bode meeting and three DNA analysts will attend the 2022 Promega meeting to provide continuing education opportunities. The NDOAG Crime Laboratory Division is striving to attain an average 30-day DNA casework and database sample turn-around time and to increase the productivity of each analyst to at least 60 samples per month. The agency also expects to work at least 200 cases and 3,200 DNA database samples (which includes 152 QC samples) using federal funding.