Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $250,000)
In May 2015, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) opened its own crime laboratory, becoming the first local laboratory in the State of Tennessee. Also in 2015, the State of Tennessee has enacted legislation that requires 100% testing of sexual assault kits.1 This piece of legislature has increased the volume of sexual assault kit submissions for DNA testing to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Crime Laboratory (MNPD-CL). In addition, the MNPD-CL has seen an increase in sample and case submissions for DNA analysis coupled with an increasing demand for decrease in turnaround time. Increases in sample and case submissions negatively affect backlog reduction and turnaround time.
The MNPD-CL is committed to continuous improvements and efficiency and has made every effort to obtain updated technology in automation, chemistries, and adequate staffing levels to meet the high demands of forensic DNA testing.
The MNPD-CL Forensic Biology Unit currently one (1) Supervisor, eight (8) Forensic Scientists, and two (2) Forensic Technicians. Of the 11 total staff, there are currently two (2) vacancies and four (4) staff in various stages of training.
If this grant funding is awarded, the MNPD-CL Forensic Biology Unit plans to use the funding to outsource sexual assault kits and to purchase TrueAllele parallel processors. This will aid in MNPD-CL’s goal of providing forensic DNA analysis of superior quality in a timely and efficient manner, decrease and eliminate the backlog, increase throughput, and reduce turnaround time.