Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $455,996)
The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) is a State of Texas criminal justice agency that provides forensic DNA analysis at no cost to law enforcement agencies primarily in Tarrant and the surrounding counties of north central Texas to assist in decreasing the number of backlog forensic DNA cases. The DNA analysis is primarily for UCR, Part 1, Crime Cases, i.e., aggravated assaults, forcible rape, murder, robbery and property crimes. UNTCHI serves as an adjunct laboratory to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) State Crime Laboratory. TXDPS and other agencies within the state routinely refer forensic cases to UNTCHI which require routine DNA testing and analysis of cases that need familial and/or kinship relatedness statistical analysis. Services include conducting serological screening of evidentiary samples for identification of biological material to be subjected to subsequent DNA testing utilizing DNA technologies such as autosomal short tandem repeats (STRs) and Y chromosome STRs analyses. UNTCHI continues to work closely with both law enforcement and prosecuting agencies to select only the most probative samples for DNA testing. This collaborative effort provides guidance to the submitting agencies and helps improve laboratory productivity and cost effectiveness. Funds from this award allow UNTCHI to continue assisting agencies in reducing the number of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis, maintain or reduce the average turn-around time of 98 days, and complete the DNA analysis on a minimum of 300 cases (600 samples). All eligible forensic DNA profiles are entered into CODIS and uploaded into NDIS where applicable. UNTCHI is accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) under the requirements of ISO 17025 and the FBI's Quality Assurance Standards. In addition to the DNA testing services, UNTCHI also provides expert witness testimony.