Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $347,033)
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory provides forensic testing services, including forensic biology/DNA testing, to all law enforcement agencies within San Mateo County and also to several nearby agencies.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic laboratory intends to use FY 2022 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program funds to increase capacity in order to process more DNA crime scene samples, provide more timely results, and enter DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The Laboratory's Forensic Biology/DNA Unit receives over 900 cases each year, but only has the capacity to analyze approximately 725 cases per year. The laboratory intends to use the CEBR funds for short-term direct case analysis activities, to include the purchasing of DNA analysis supplies and the funding of salaries and benefits for extra-help interns and overtime for current staff to increase the number cases analyzed. The laboratory does not have any funding for overtime or extra-help staff to assist with increasing the capacity needed to analyze all cases submitted, nor to help reduce the existing backlog. Utilizing CEBR funds for overtime and extra-help will allow more cases to be analyzed, with an expected outcome of stabilizing the growing backlog at the current level. All law enforcement agencies we provide forensic biology/DNA services for will benefit by having their cases analyzed and entered in CODIS prior to the statute of limitations expiring.
In addition, the laboratory intends to use the CEBR funds for long-term capacity enhancement activities to include training for Forensic Biology/DNA Unit staff on DNA related continuing education topics that will fulfill continuing education requirements, as well as software maintenance to allow for reliable and updated software for DNA mixture interpretation.
Training for staff will help maintain a high level of service, keep staff abreast of changes in the field, and will allow for new and more efficient techniques to be learned and implemented in the laboratory. Any improvements to efficiencies will increase capacity, benefiting all of the agencies the laboratory services by providing more timely results.