Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,201,407)
The State of Wisconsin has two accredited laboratories that are performing DNA Analysis for all state and local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, Wisconsin State Statute designates the Wisconsin Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS) as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on all eligible offender samples. Over the last two years, the forensic DNA demands and case complexity in Wisconsin have continued to rise without a corresponding boost in the budget. In addition, forensic laboratories nationwide, including Wisconsin, have been impacted both budgetarily and operationally by the COVID 19 pandemic as well as the implementation and training of staff on probabilistic genotyping. These challenges, combined with an insufficient budget, have negatively impacted both the turnaround time as well as the case backlog. Supporting an award for capacity enhancement and backlog reduction will improve Wisconsin’s ability to increase the number of samples analyzed, reduce the turnaround time, and increase entry of DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System. To accomplish these objectives, Wisconsin will use the provided funds to attend national meetings and training seminars, maintain proficiency test requirements, continue payroll support for four project positions as well as overtime, outsource sexual assault kits, and replace, upgrade, or improve existing equipment. In conclusion, these funds will allow Wisconsin to maximize the operational effectiveness of the forensic DNA system and will also help ease the expanding demands of the state and local law enforcement agencies.