Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $400,000)
BJA FY 2022 Byrne Discretinoary Community Project Funding/Byrne Discretionary Grants Program
Forensic DNA Technology
New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement agency in New Hanover
County located in Southeastern North Carolina. It employs over 500 Deputies, Detention
Officers and civilians in 7 divisions to include Patrol, Support, Vice & Narcotics, Detention,
Animal Services, Judicial and Detectives.
The primary function of the Detective Division is to conduct follow-up investigations of crimes.
Detectives from specialized units are assigned to investigate crimes based on their expertise.
For example, Fraud cases are assigned to the White Collar Crimes Unit, Child Sexual Assault
cases are assigned to the Juvenile/Child Abuse Unit, and so on. Detectives also investigate
crimes involving Homicide, Sexual Assault, Property Crimes arising from Breaking and Entering
and Larceny, Domestic Violence, Assaults and reports of Missing Persons, to name a few.
In August 2020, the FBI NDIS approved Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Rapid DNA Solution for
the National DNA Index system known as the Applied BiosystemsTM RapidHITTM ID System,
allowing investigators to generate forensic DNA results in virtually any setting in as little as 90
This system would provide the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Detectives the ability to access
forensic intelligence that will immediately impact an investigation or link suspects with past
crimes while they are still in custody. The Applied BiosystemsTM RapidHITTM ID System is the
ideal rapid DNA platform for generating lab-quality forensic DNA profiles for reference samples
and crime scene samples and takes minimal training. Set-up to process a sample takes just one
minute of hands-on time, as the fully automated RapidHITTM ID System can generate short
tandem repeat (STR) DNA profiles. When paired with BodeHITSTM software allowing the
creation of a local DNA database, this partnership offers sample matching, familial search,
kinship and staff elimination database applications. The samples generated can be quickly
searched amongst a locally generated database, in addition to generating results compatible with
established DNA databases, so there can be information sharing over serval platforms.
If awarded, the Byrne Discretionary Community Project/Byrne Discretionary Grant Program
funds would be used to procure this RapidHITTM ID System to accurately and expeditiously
identify unbiased biological DNA from suspects in a crime and exclude innocent individuals,
preventing needless arrests, interrogations and time wasted chasing dead-end leads.
Additionally, the BodeHITSTM System would also be purchased to take the DNA samples and
create a new local database to be shared with surrounding agencies.
The speed and accuracy of this process will make the citizens of New Hanover County safer and
improve community relations by providing intelligence for investigations resulting in arrests,
convictions and exonerations in an unbiased manner. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Detectives
will be able to solve more and smaller crimes, such as property crimes, since they can apply
forensic DNA profiling to a wider range of crimes. The systems provide the New Hanover
County Investigators with better, faster and more cost-effective resources to fight crime and
improve law enforcement relations with the community.