Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $313,826)
Forensic DNA analysis is an immensely useful tool that aids law enforcement investigations and the criminal justice system. DNA is useful for showing the relationship of an individual to a crime scene, and is often deemed “necessary” to secure prosecution of an alleged perpetrator. While DNA analysis is valuable for investigative purposes, laboratories are overwhelmed with the amount of samples to process and the cost it takes to perform the testing. The Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory (Montgomery County) is requesting $313,826 in funding from the BJA FY 21 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program to aid in forensic DNA testing. High demand for DNA testing requires the use of automation when possible, and instrumentation capable of performing procedures faster in order to meet turnaround times that are acceptable for investigations and trials. While these procedures yield higher throughput and better quality samples, this approach is often more costly than manual methods. Funds from this award will help offset the costs of providing faster and high quality service to law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system. Additionally funds will be dedicated to licensing for software necessary to analyze DNA samples as well as track them through the laboratory process. Money will also be used to pay for acquiring probabilistic genotyping software and training, as well as validating a procedure to extract DNA from bone and tooth samples. The MVRCL expects to meet our goals of reducing the backlog and maintaining the throughput in number of samples with a shorter turnaround time, with the aid of the funding from this award.