Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $401,985)
The Baltimore Police Department’s Crime Laboratory is the agency section responsible for analyzing material evidence associated with criminal investigations for all local law enforcement agencies within the City of Baltimore. Unfortunately, the City is facing budgetary constraints, and the BPD-CL has limited staffing and is struggling to keep up with the high demand of DNA requests. The most significant limiting factor it’s facing is its ability to “do more, faster”; simply the lengthy turnaround time compared to the number of hands available to do the work. The correction necessary for the lab to eliminate the backlog and be real-time is simply more scientists. The Federal funding from this award will be used for the following goal:
Goal: Reduce the backlog and improve turnaround through increased sample processing. Funds will support the salaries of two sample processing scientists and two sample screening scientists. Their work will be to support DNA analysts by performing laboratory testing procedures and through the identification of samples to forward for DNA testing.
Funding this request will ensure that the Crime Lab will run more efficiently, allowing a faster turnaround for analyses, free technicians for new cases, and improve the overall effectiveness of the laboratory. The Crime Lab can expect to work on approximately 800 forensic biology cases that will be processed, recorded, screened, and analyzed if funded under this application. In addition, the funding will allow the Crime Lab to increase its work capacity by at least 10% regarding the average number of Forensic DNA samples analyzed per month and reduce the average backlog of casework by approximately 15%.