Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $876,280)
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Laboratory is seeking funds to address a backlog of cases for DNA testing in the Forensic Biology section. The laboratory serves Union, Middlesex, and Essex Counties in New Jersey. The main goals of the laboratory will be to increase capacity, ensure that efficiency is maintained across instrumentation and software so that turnaround times can improve, reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases, and gain knowledge of current improvements strategies within the field.
The UCPO Forensic Laboratory seeks grant funding to hire a new DNA analyst to assist in the examination and analysis of cases. The Laboratory also seeks continued funding to support one full-time laboratory technician and one part-time contracted DNA analyst in the processing, reporting, and review of DNA casework. The contract analyst is also assisting in the implementation of a new LIMS, which is planned to go live in January 2022. The ability to use these staff members in their current capacity is vital to the success of the project goals. The UCPO Forensic Laboratory is also requesting funding to purchase an additional genetic analyzer and thermal cycler to increase capacity, as well as a next-generation sequencing system to expand the services that the laboratory is able to offer to customers. In addition, overtime funds are requested to allow for all staff to dedicate additional time to backlogged cases, as well as funding for additional supplies to process the cases.