Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $893,156)
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation Forensic Services (CBIFS) submits the following as the abstract for its plan for funds allocated through the FY22 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program.
The first goal of this project is to enhance the capacity of our forensic DNA laboratories. This will be accomplished through the hiring and/or retention of two full-time, grant-funded Biological Sciences Technicians. These laboratory employees will be hired to directly process, record, screen, and/or analyze forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples. These laboratory employees may also directly perform capacity enhancement-specific activities, such as validating new DNA analysis technologies for the forensic DNA laboratory and/or the DNA Database laboratory; however, their main duties will be focused on support tasks associated with current CBIFS DNA Analysts as well as other casework processing duties. By enhancing capacity with the employment of two technicians, CBIFS expects to see a reduction in casework backlog also.
Another way this first goal will be accomplished will be by purchasing upgraded Sample Tracking software for our DNA Database Laboratory as well as the annual upgrades for probabilistic genotyping software. These upgraded software programs will help to further streamline our workflow and increase productivity.
Another way this first goal will be accomplished will be to fund overtime for CBIFS DNA casework and database scientists to perform validation studies outside of normal work hours in order to work on projects that will enhance capacity. An example of a validation study is the testing, protocol development, and implementation of new DNA extraction instrumentation.
Lastly, this goal will be accomplished with the purchasing of new, more efficient DNA extraction instrumentation that will replace current, outdated instrumentation.
The second goal of this project will be to reduce backlog within the CBIFS forensic DNA laboratories by funding overtime for the analysis of biological science cases outside of normal work hours. This will increase the total number of cases that our current analysts can complete during the time of this award. It is expected based on current average analysis times that at least 201 additional cases will be worked using the overtime funds from this award.
Finally, the CBIFS must be able to participate in the CODIS DNA database at the local (LDIS), state (SDIS), and national (NDIS) levels. To be able to participate at the national level, laboratories must adhere to FBI Quality Assurance Standards (QAS). These standards require every DNA analyst to receive continuing education annually. Funds from this award will allow some of the analysts to receive this training at national conferences.