Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,230,000)
The Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Forensic Biology, serves as the public forensic laboratory for the City of New York and provides DNA testing on thousands of case submissions every year. In 2020 a total of 46,960 DNA samples were extracted, with STR profiles generated, analyzed, and reviewed. As a result, the Department uploaded 5,620 profiles into CODIS. During the same year there were 697 cold hits to offender matches, 1,234 case-to-case matches and 727 conviction matches. To better serve our customers in the criminal justice community the Department of Forensic Biology’s 2022 goals are to increase the current capacity and reduce the turnaround time and case backlog to 30 and 1,000, respectively. The lab has a current backlog of 2,145, at the time of this application, and an average year-to-date turnaround time of 79 for all case types. The Department has made significant progress within the last couple years towards this goal but with the increased in cases received in the laboratory and a reduction in available analysts due to training and attrition, and the COVID-19 Pandemic, funding is needed to help process the additional cases. The FY2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) program proposal aims to achieve productivity and timeliness of DNA testing by focusing on the following actions: Increase available staff hours through overtime. Purchase of supplies. Continue to fund previous grant-funded positions. Reduce backlog and turnaround times. It is expected that overtime and continued staff will result in additional assignments process. The overall goal is to further reduce backlog and turnaround time in half within the 24 months of this grant period through process improvements and continued overtime and available supplies funding.