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Reduce DNA Backlog and increase capacity and efficiency

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $530,063)



The Montana Department of Justice Forensic Science Division (MT DOJ FSD) is the agency responsible for analyzing evidence associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Montana.  Montana Code Annotated 44-6-102 designates the MT DOJ FSD Laboratory to conduct analysis of DNA database samples collected from all convicted felons.

DNA casework at the Montana Department of Justice, Forensic Science Division, continues to be overwhelming.  The laboratory has experienced a doubling in casework the last 10 years. 


The Montana State legislature passed legislation in 2019 to make Montana an “All Kit State” for sex assaults.  All approved sex assault evidence kits are being submitted for analysis. Sex Assault casework has doubled over the 5 years since the SAKI initiative.


Our objectives for this grant proposal to mitigate our backlog and continue to improve turn-around times are:

To improve the efficiency of processing sex assault cases and add resilience in our small laboratory by continuing to fund two forensic analysts able to run Y-screening and perform additional serology and DNA analysis functions.
To improve backlog and analysis turn-around times by funding a part-time DNA analyst.
Provide reagents and supplies to accommodate the increases in DNA casework.
Provide continued education training for our analysts.
Fund preventative maintenance our most recently purchased Hamilton robot and second Qiacube instruments.
Purchase a bone mill for preparing bone sample for DNA extraction.
Fund upgrade of data collection software for two 3500 Genetic Analyzer instruments.
Purchase CODIS convicted offender collection kits.

Date Created: September 16, 2022