Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,060,000)
Sexual Assault legislation enacted in late 2016 in New York State resulted in a tremendous increase in sexual assault evidence collection kits submitted to the Laboratory, thus creating a significant backlog. Since that time, the Section has hired and trained new Staff and a new workflow for male screening of kits was implemented in 2018. Additional Staff will continue to be hired and trained, as well as additional trainings for existing Staff. Between 2020 through 2022, Discovery legislation changes, Lab system LIMS.net implementation and COVID-19 virus mitigation efforts also affected capacity enhancement and backlog reduction efforts. The Section is seeking funding for overtime/fringe/indirect costs, equipment, supplies and a procurement contract to continue to address backlog and prepare for additional capacity enhancements. Funding for overtime/fringe/indirect costs will allow for backlog reduction and assessment/validation activities. The equipment purchases will enhance capacity and replace older/aging models. The supplies purchases will increase capacity. The funding requested in the procurement category will also increase capacity by providing an enhanced tracking mechanism for sexual assault kits to ensure legislative timelines are met.
The DNA Databank Laboratory continues to balance staffing, training, validations and familial searching as obstacles to achieving capacity enhancement and backlog reduction. Between 2020 through 2022, Discovery legislation changes, staff training, familial search requests and COVID-19 virus mitigation efforts had a significant impact on operations and created further barriers to capacity enhancement and backlog reduction efforts. The Section is seeking funding for a procurement contract to continue a Databank specific Programmer/IT Specialist to maintain, improve and expand Databank LIMS functionality.
DNA Casework and Databank (Bioscience) is seeking funding to support existing Lab and office area renovations to create more functional space, increase efficiency of layout and accommodate additional personnel to assist in increasing the number of samples processed and decrease turn around time.
Bioscience is also seeking funding to support the continued service of a LIMS/Workstation Support Coordinator. The availability of a LIMS Coordinator maximizes the record keeping and report preparation functions of the Section’s LIMS systems as well as keeping production continuous with on-site support.
Grant funding will also be utilized for travel, registration and workshops for Bioscience staff to attend DNA related conferences and assist in satisfying continuing education requirements.
Lastly, Bioscience seeks funding for the continuation of subscriptions for a relevant scientific journal that is used for continuing education and courtroom testimony preparation.