Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,743,265)
The Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) is applying for funding under the FY 2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program for the purposes listed below:
1. Maintain Increased Capacity of the Forensic Biology Section.
Objective: Continue to fund six forensic scientist positions (5 in casework and 1 in the Data Bank) and one support position in casework. This will maintain the increased capacity of both the Casework and the DNA Data Bank Sections.
2. Increase Testing Efficiency of Sexual Assault/Rape Kits in the Casework Section.
Objective: Purchase DNA extraction chemistries that provide a quick and efficient method for extracting DNA from sexual assault kit samples. Where the amount of male DNA can be determined, replacing the traditional screening methods of seminal fluid indication and microscopic spermatozoa identification with the new screening chemistries will increase efficiency.
3. Increase Testing Efficiency in the DNA Data Bank Section.
Objective: Purchase buccal sample collectors and DNA testing chemistries to be utilized to collect and test samples from Virginia offenders for inclusion in the Virginia DNA Data Bank. Both the collectors and Fusion testing chemistries can be utilized with robotics in the DFS Data Bank Section to allow for efficient DNA testing of Data Bank samples.
4. Increase Testing Efficiency in the Casework and Data Bank Sections.
Objective: Purchase Fusion testing chemistries that can be utilized with robotics in the DFS casework section to allow for efficient DNA testing of reference and evidence samples. Additionally the chemistry allows for the direct amplification of reference samples which is a more efficient way to process these types of samples.
5. Provide the Required Continuing Education for Scientific Staff in the Forensic Biology Section.
Objective: Conduct internal statewide training and attend applicable external training workshops and conferences.
6. Increase Testing Efficiency in the Casework Section in DNA mixture interpretation
Objective: Conduct training on the use of the software to staff from all 4 laboratories. The software is used as an efficient tool to aid in DNA mixture interpretation.
7. Maintain testing efficiency in the Casework Section
Objective: Purchase a robotic platform which can be validated to process casework reference and evidence samples. Once validated and approved for work, additional units will be purchased to replace current robotics that are being utilized by the section.