Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $960,000)
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), as mandated by Chapter 943 Florida Statutes, operates a statewide forensic crime laboratory system to provide timely, expert and professional examination of evidentiary materials to aid in the investigation, prosecution and exclusion of criminal offenses in the state of Florida. The Biology/DNA needs of Florida’s criminal justice community are serviced by a network of FDLE laboratories and five local laboratories that comprise the Florida crime laboratory system. FDLE has six internationally accredited DNA laboratories that provide Biology/ DNA analysis services.
As a result of the new 2021 law requiring a statewide tracking system, the FDLE has identified and purchased access to a SAK tracking software solution and started a small pilot of ~3% of the yearly expected SAK to determine clear objectives, needs and processes prior to a statewide implementation plan. This proposal requests funding to take the information gleaned from the pilot and customize any needs identified as needs for the software as well as integration in the FDLE LIMS. Once customization is completed, funding is requested to pay for access to the tracking software as well as technical and customer support services in a phased approach statewide through July 2023. The second phase of implementation will truly test the system and span approximately a third of the state including some county laboratory partners. Ultimately, phase three of implementation would occur incorporating any other changes identified in phase two and bringing the rest of the state online. This proposal builds on relationships already established with statewide partners, follows the mandate given by the Florida legislature and seeks resources to establish a comprehensive tracking system aimed at transparent tracking of kits from the time of collection through final disposition. Through this effort Florida seeks to continue to move forward toward understanding the movement of sexual assault kits through the criminal justice system and provide consistency in the handling of sexual assault kit evidence throughout the criminal justice process.