Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $436,734)
Abstract below and attched.
The Monroe County Crime Laboratory (MCCL) is an ANAB accredited crime lab providing services to twenty-four police agencies in Monroe, Livingston and Genesee counties in New York State. For at least four years before the MCCL brought DNA online as a discipline in 1999, the lab’s biologists had been retaining evidence for DNA analysis, which meant there was a backlog of cases awaiting DNA right from the start. The demand for testing far exceeded capacity, and the lab has faced challenges associated with its staffing and resources that have waxed and waned over the past two decades.
The last four years have been spent enhancing our capacity to process forensic cases by validating and implementing new DNA test kits and instruments and training new staff members. Although the new kits and instruments have reduced the time it takes to process casework samples, the time spent on validation and training took time away from casework.
Retention of experienced analysts and training of new employees have been consistent challenges over the past two decades. Despite the loss of three experienced DNA analysts in the 2020, the current biology staffing situation is the most promising that the MCCL has experienced since 2016. Five analysts completed DNA training in 2020, for a net two gain in casework analysts. Completion of the training process means that the staff can refocus its attention from process improvements and training to backlog reduction. Adding two DNA analysts to the total number of people conducting casework means that additional supplies will be needed for screening and DNA analysis, proficiency tests, and continuing education to maintain compliance with the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS).
The overarching goal of this project is to maintain stability in our staff and processes so we can shift our priority to backlog reduction while maintaining compliance with the QAS. Our main objectives are to assign, analyze and issue reports for a minimum of forty-five cases per month by the end of the project period and to enter all eligible DNA profiles into CODIS. If received, the primary uses of funding would be for supplies to analyze a minimum of 225 DNA cases; and for maintaining accreditation requirements.
- Implementation of the BERLA iVE vehicle system forensic tool to fortify investigative methods and strengthen criminal prosecutions for restoring justice and safety for victims and the community.
- FY23 Tribal Resources Grant Equipment/Training Program (TRGP-Equipment/Training)
- FY23 Tribal Resources Grant Hiring Program (TRGP-Hire)