Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $320,235)
The Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory (TPDCL) DNA Unit’s workflow is affected by various daily demands for processing of cases, to include a year over year increase in submissions, as well as the requirements of the 2017 Arizona state law requiring timely submission of all sexual assault kits (SAKs) for DNA analysis. The workflow for DNA analysis of SAKs requires a specialized approach, as well as dedicated staff, which the DNA Unit has prioritized with its limited resources. Although, the City of Tucson recently funded additional Criminalist positions in the TPDCL DNA Unit to address these change in submissions, the Crime Laboratory estimates that it needs additional personnel to accommodate DNA analysis of all SAKs, in addition to other requests for routine service.
The FY22 CEBR grant will allow TPDCL to fund one Evidence Examination Specialist (EES) assigned to the DNA Unit and two full-time DNA Criminalist positions, to include salary and employee related expenses EREs, to screen/sample and analyze backlogged DNA cases, respectively. The funding of these position will greatly contribute to increasing the capacity of he Unit to provide forensic DNA services, as well as and help the Unit continue to reduce the number of cases awaiting DNA analysis. It is expected that the EES will screen/sample 110 cases consisting of approximately 550 items and that each DNA Criminalist will annually analyze 110 cases consisting of approximately 550 samples.
In addition, the FY22 CEBR grant will allow TPDCL to fund the purchase of laboratory supplies to support the increase in staffing and their efforts, to include the purchase of DNA extraction, quantitation and amplification kits.
It is expected that the FY22 CEBR grant will help the Laboratory decrease the DNA case backlog by increasing the capacity of the TPDCL to process DNA samples and enter them into CODIS.