Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,568,384)
The Biology (DNA) Section of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau (LASD-SSB) has two specific goals for this proposal: to reduce the casework backlog by 3% and to reduce the turnaround time for casework by 5% by the end of the award period.
The LASD-SSB faces a continued increase in requests for DNA casework but does not receive additional funding to support the increased requests. The DNA Section will use funding from this award to provide overtime for personnel; supplies for DNA casework; travel/training opportunities for staff; casework outsourcing; and computer technology associated with the CODIS server and digital imaging systems, including laptops for forensic biology examinations. High-performance computers will reduce wait times for software access and decrease the time spent processing highly complex mixtures that take significant time on general-purpose computers.
Overtime for personnel will allow staff to work outside of the regular work week to assume more cases; complete more data analysis; and conduct more case file reviews, all of which are areas that the DNA Section experiences significant delays in its processing. The travel/training funds will be used by staff to complete required continuing education for 2023 and 2024. The funding for outsourcing laboratory services will allow specific cases to be sent for specialized testing.
Funds will be used to purchase a tube and vial labeling machine for the accurate and efficient labeling of tubes and vials containing DNA samples with unique identification. Funding will also provide for the annual maintenance of the DNA interpretation software to ensure the DNA Section receives technical support and the most up-to-date versions of the software.
The LASD-SSB has been awarded DNA Backlog Reduction and/or Capacity Enhancement grant funds for more than a decade. Over the years, several improvements have been made to increase the amount of casework the laboratory can complete. As the laboratory has become more efficient, and DNA technology has improved, more casework has been requested by the Sheriff’s stations and outside law enforcement agencies served by LASD-SSB. Purchases from this award will continue to build on progress already made possible by previous awards and will assist the LASD-SSB in completing at least 7,000 cases over this award period.