Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $874,064)
The Iowa Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation Crime Laboratory (Iowa DCI Crime Lab) is the agency that is responsible for analyzing evidential material that is associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies within the state of Iowa. The Code of the State of Iowa designates the Iowa DCI crime lab as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected from crime scenes as well as DNA samples collected from all individuals convicted of a felony, certain aggravated misdemeanors, and sexual offenses within the State of Iowa. The Iowa DCI crime lab is a single laboratory system that serves the entire State of Iowa.
As a result of additional staff and process improvement implementations that have been afforded to the us, the Iowa DCI crime lab DNA unit has been able to reduce the backlog and turnaround time (TAT) for cases. However, many challenges remain facing the unit such as hiring and training two Forensic Science Technicians (FSTs) positions to backfill positions that were vacated upon promotions. Additionally, the DNA unit is currently training new staff on laboratory procedures, and is training all staff on new techniques and technologies that the laboratory is currently validating. The training and validation takes valuable time away from casework and databasing thus the additional staff, overtime, and equipment upgrades that are funded through this award will assist in allowing turnaround times to stay low and will help keep our case output and convicted offender CODIS uploads high.
The Federal funding from this award will be used for the following main purposes:
1. Reduce the backlog and increase capacity of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Reduce the backlog and increase capacity and capability in the Databasing section.