Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $635,846)
The PR Institute of Forensic Sciences is an ANAB:ANSI, FBI, and NAME-accredited, full-service forensic facility that has served the citizens of Puerto Rico since 1985. It is the only forensic laboratory in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It currently counts with four operational divisions: a) Criminalistics, b) Medico-legal Investigations, c) Forensic Investigations (CSI), and d) Drug Screening and Special Substances Detection (DSSSD). The Puerto Rico Bureau of Forensic Sciences seeks, with FY2021 DNA CEBR funding, to support the DOJ mission that reads in part, "to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” It is with this grant that resources can be identified to increase the capacity significantly, thus, reducing turnaround time and to reduce the number of samples awaiting analysis in both casework and database sections. By using FY2021 CEBR funds for the outsourcing of analysis and ownership review of at least 2,000 database samples and at least 200 cases (sexual assaults, homicides, and/or unidentified human remain identifications) our laboratory will greatly reduce our database and casework backlog. FY2021 CEBR funds are also requested to increase the throughput and capacity of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis by acquiring laboratory equipment that will double the amount of samples analyzed concurrently. The instruments we currently in the laboratory are reaching 12 years of use and are being discontinued thus the company is no longer offering preventive maintenance or repair services for said instruments. This will not only increase our throughput and capacity, but will guarantee that preventive maintenance and repair services are covered. Furthermore, funds are requested to contract personnel for the direct administrative expenses specifically related to grant administration and management. Lastly, funds are also requested for the attendance of four analysts to conferences, scientific sessions, and workshops for continuing education directly related to the DNA & Serology casework and database operation (i.e. Promega and CODIS), will help improve the laboratory’s scientific knowledge.