Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $312,335)
Funding from this grant will go toward satisfying two ends: increasing the capacity to perform DNA analysis, and reducing the backlog created by uncompleted cases in the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Westchester County New York Division of Forensic Sciences. The accomplishment of these goals is in line with our pledge to furnish preliminary DNA results to investigating agencies in a timely manner.
Our laboratory has been on-line with STR DNA typing since 1999. In twenty-one years the demands on, and expectations of, all forensic case-working laboratories has intensified such that analytical turn-around time must be greatly reduced and the typing techniques employed must be increasingly more sophisticated. Currently our laboratory employs nuclear STR typing and Y-STR typing techniques. In addition, the new FBI Quality Assurance Standards, which took effect in July 2020, have imposed additional requirements for casework analysis and mixture interpretation.
To maintain pace with evolving trends and national accreditation requirements for DNA analysis and to reduce our current backlog of cases to be analyzed for DNA, our laboratory will require new laboratory supplies and equipment, access to training opportunities and travel monies, and the capability to hire temporary laboratory technician support staff. In addition to be in compliance with the FBI requirement of having an external audit every two years we have budgeted for this inspection to be paid for with funding from this grant. The augmented capacity made available by grant funding will enable us to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA samples in order to further reduce the amount of time required to complete casework. We anticipate the momentum created by this optimized work flow will preemptively reduce future bottlenecks at the examination, analytical, and review stages of casework by substantially minimizing our current backlog.
Because of the New York State law related to mandatory testing of all rape kits (including those that are sitting on law enforcement shelves) we must examine the kits in a timely fashion and produce a report within a set time frame. The funding from this grant is especially important in helping us meet those timeframes.
In this grant we are requesting funding that would allow us to: continue the trend of providing the most probative case results to the requesting agency in a timely manner, increase our capacity to complete ancillary casework procedures, reduce our backlog of “UCR Part 1 Violent Crimes” forensic casework including property crimes and enter more DNA samples into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).