Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $754,309)
Project Goals and Objectives - This application is for Federal assistance from the FY 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement For Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. Funds are being sought to handle, screen, and/or analyze backlogged forensic and database samples. Overtime, continuing salary and benefit support of grant funded personnel, and the outsourcing of backlogged cases to a qualifying fee-for-service laboratory will be used in accomplishing this task. The SLED DNA Laboratory is an NDIS participant lab in good standing; therefore, the resulting evidence and database profiles from analysis of these samples will be entered and searched in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to assist state and local agencies to ultimately solve crimes. SLED expects to reduce the DNA case and database backlog by the end of the award period. Funding on this award will allow for analysis of approximately 200 cases using overtime and grant funded analysts and 500 database samples using grant funded overtime. Additionally, it is anticipated approximately 215 cases will be outsourced using these funds. Funds are being sought to provide continuing education for DNA analysts. Educational information and new technologies presented in these training events enhance the lab’s capabilities in implementing new DNA methodologies and increasing throughput through exposure to novel automation and techniques. Funds will be used to outsource the validation of genetic analysis software as an expert system. Limited staffing levels make it difficult to allocate these resources to validation projects. These grant funds will enable the DNA Database Department to accomplish the validation of genetic analysis software as an expert system for reference samples to reduce the analysis and review time in an effort to get profiles uploaded to CODIS faster. Funds will be used to procure PCR workstations that will help protect items of evidence and database samples from contamination by serving as a barrier between these items and the surrounding environment. Workstations will replace old workstations and equip additional workspaces created by the construction of a new Forensics Laboratory. The 2021 award will fund a vendor to perform a QAS external audit without requiring SLED analysts to provide an audit to another laboratory in return. This allows SLED analysts to focus on their primary responsibilities; thereby aiding in the reduction of the SLED DNA backlog.