Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $286,628)
The Oklahoma City Police Forensic DNA laboratory continues to see an increase in case submission requests as well as the number of samples to be analyzed per case and is seeking to enhance capacity through purchase of laboratory sequencing equipment, attending external DNA conferences & reduction backlog via case work analyst overtime.
The award project will consist of the following goals:
Purchase and validation of MiSeq/ForenSeq sequencer and chemistry for implementing a new sequencing workflow to assist in challenging samples, mixture assessment, cold case homicide services and expansion into REMOVED to assist in expansion of services to cold case homicides. Currently the laboratory is limited in options to advance these investigations and addition of forensic sequencing techniques would allow us to assist on these cases.
Expansion of PCR capacity – the laboratory wishes to expand on capabilities to perform PCR by adding a new thermal cycler to support the existing ProFlex thermal cycler. This would allow us to double amplification capacity.
Continued analyst training – some funds are being pursued to assist with ongoing professional training conference attendance for DNA analysts.
Overtime for forensic casework - analyst overtime has proved a successful method of rapidly reducing the backlog to manageable levels in a short period of time while maximizing the number and speed of profiles viable for CODIS entry. Since the laboratory is currently seeing a trend upwards in case submissions for service, this backlog is not expected to decrease anytime soon, utilizing award funds to attempt to reduce the backlog rapidly by at least fifty cases within the award period is anticipated to assist positioning the laboratory in a good standing to move forward and maintain a proactive approach to turn around times on casework. This will also facilitate cases being worked faster, technical reviews to be conducted and additional profiles being uploaded into CODIS.