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City of Fresno Expansion of Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)

The City of Fresno is the 5th largest city in California, which is the most populated state in the United States. The Fresno Police Department (FPD) responds to ~450,000 calls for service annually, including ~2,400 sexual assaults. The FPD recognized that it had many deficiencies in how it handled sexual assault investigations and related forensic evidence. It sought grant opportunities to rectify these issues. In 2015, the DANY grant was awarded to the CA Department of Justice (CALDOJ) and FPD’s ~700 untested victim SAKs were submitted to the lab for forensic testing. As a result, FPD applied for and received SAKI 2018 grant funds to investigate the backlog of cold cases (pre 2016 cases). It was determined while working the SAKI 2018 cases, the problem of backlogged cases with CODIS hits was still occurring in our agency. Thus, FPD applied for and received the SAKI 2019 grant. This grant provided funding for detectives and an assigned prosecutor to work cold cases from 2016 to 2018. As FPD continued building upon this initiative, a number of other deficiencies were identified including FPD had an unknown number of ‘partially tested’ SAKs in evidence, SAKs were not being stored efficiently, and detectives noticed a large majority of cold cases were facilitated by alcohol and/or drugs. FPD received SAKI 2020 to address these issues. All of these SAKI grants were essential in funding the FPD’s Cold Case Unit, which investigates and prosecutes the backlog of cases. Many agencies nationwide have discovered that lawfully owed offender profiles were/are not in CODIS. This led to missed opportunities for capture or preventing further crimes. FPD has been and continues to test SAKs, which results in increase CODIS uploads. FPD has consulted with the CALDOJ (who administers CODIS) and specific missing CODIS upload data for FPD cannot be generated. However, CALDOJ conducted a statewide study and concluded thousands of state offender DNA samples are owed to CODIS. FPD knows it has lawfully owed DNA cases. A brief survey of FPD’s state registered sex and arson offenders was conducted and detectives discovered that numerous registrants still lawfully owe their DNA. With the augmentation of grant funding, the FPD and Fresno County DA’s Office will collectively work to ensure all FPD related lawfully owed DNA is collected and uploaded to CODIS. This grant funding will provide sustainability and is the next logical step for the FPD under the SAKI program.

Date Created: December 16, 2021