Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $462,272)
The South Dakota Forensic Laboratory (SDFL) is the only accredited laboratory in South Dakota capable of doing forensic DNA analysis on criminal cases. As such, evidence from criminal cases throughout the entire state of South Dakota is submitted to the SDFL for Forensic Analysis. The SDFL has managed a sub 90-day turnaround time for the past several years, despite an increase in Biology caseload. Our offender database samples are completed inhouse (since 2018) and all the work to upload those samples is done on-site. Regarding our DNA caseload, this year 2021, we are a full month ahead in the number of case submissions requesting DNA analysis. We are set for a record number of case submissions by several cases. Two additional DNA analysts were trained and began casework in October of 2020. We will be asking legislature for two additional examiners this next year. Our lab prides ourselves in efficiency. We find that we complete a high number of DNA cases/ examiner compared to other crime labs. Renewed funding will allow us to continue purchasing supplies for casework, and purchase supplies for on-site offender sample testing, reducing turnaround time in casework and offender sample processing. Requested funding would provide for us to purchase Global-filer kits to keep up with the demand of supplies needed for the increasing caseload. As we expand, our lab will need more equipment to run samples full time with an increased number of examiners and an increased amount of casework. It is our intention to use NIJ funding to accomplish the following goals: equip examiners with the required supplies to perform forensic testing on evidence from criminal cases and upload applicable DNA profiles into CODIS. Use money for additional DNA equipment to analyze more samples at the same time. More equipment would improve the turnaround time to our customers that rely on us in our state.