Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $290,569)
Funding from this grant will go toward satisfying two ends: increasing the capacity to perform DNA analysis, and reducing the backlog and turn-around time on casework. The accomplishment of these goals is in line with our pledge to furnish DNA results to investigating agencies in a timely manner.
Our laboratory has been on-line with STR DNA typing since 1999. The laboratory accepts and analyzes evidence from 50+ police agencies in Westchester County. In twenty-two years the demands on, and expectations of, all forensic laboratories has intensified such that analytical turn-around time must be greatly reduced and the typing techniques employed must be increasingly more sophisticated. Currently our laboratory employs nuclear STR typing and Y-STR typing techniques. In addition, the new FBI Quality Assurance Standards, which took effect in July 2020, have imposed additional requirements for casework analysis and mixture interpretation.
To maintain pace with evolving trends and national accreditation requirements for DNA analysis and to reduce our current backlog of cases to be analyzed for DNA, our laboratory will require new laboratory supplies and equipment, access to training opportunities, the capability to hire temporary laboratory technician support staff, the ability to continue service contracts on our DNA instruments, and updated software and computers. The augmented capacity made available by grant funding will enable us to further reduce the amount of time it takes to examine evidence, analyze DNA samples, enter profiles into CODIS, generate reports and provide testimony. Our goal is to provide results to both the Westchester County police departments and District Attorney’s office in a timely manner by reducing case turnaround times and case backlogs.
Because of the New York State law related to mandatory testing of all rape kits (including those that are sitting on law enforcement shelves) we must examine the kits in a timely fashion and produce a report within a set time frame. The funding from this grant is especially important in helping us meet those timeframes.
In this grant we are requesting funding that would allow us to: continue the trend of providing the most probative case results to the requesting agency in a timely manner, with the goals of increasing our capacity to analyze DNA samples and reducing our backlog and turnaround time of forensic casework.