Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $437,650)
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department Crime Laboratory ("Lab") has made significant changes to its DNA analysis processes in recent years. The adoption of probabilistic genotyping software, and of methods to analyze the expanded Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) locus set, have created a serious bottleneck in our analysis flow. By increasing the amount of data acquired per sample analyzed, and the complexity of the techniques used to interpret this data, these methods significantly delay the production of interpreted results from analysis data. Additionally, recent California state legislation, Senate Bill 22 (SB 22), now requires the Lab to analyze all sexual assault evidence kits submitted within 120 days of receipt. To address increasing requests for service and impacts of SB 22, the Lab has sought automated efficiencies that now require resources to comply with validation and workflow expectations set by the ANSI National Accreditation Board and the FBI Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) for Forensic DNA Testing.
The Lab requests $437,650 in program funding to increase its DNA analysis capacity and reduce backlog. The funding will be used to procure on-board replacement real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instruments and a redundant automated platform to ensure continuity of service. Additionally, funding will be utilized to upgrade and validate the outdated analysis software, provide continuing education for DNA analysts and support overtime efforts to reduce the case backlog.
The goals of the project funded by this award are to decrease our DNA sample turn-around time, increase efficiency of DNA analysis, and reduce the backlog of DNA cases.