Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $304,176)
The Hamilton County Coroner's Office and Laboratory continues to face budgetary challenges. This award will ensure uninterrupted processing of Forensic Biology/DNA evidence that would otherwise be curtailed. The budgetary challenges have also adversely affected the Hamilton County Coroner’s Laboratory’s efforts to purchase additional instrumentation to increase capacity and keep up with emerging technologies.
The goals and objectives of this project are fourfold. First, the Hamilton County Coroner’s Laboratory plans to increase the capacity of the DNA section by purchasing an additional microscope that will be dedicated to sperm searches associated with sexual assault kit processing. Grant funds will also be used to pay for a new CODIS server and workstation to keep current with computer technology.
Secondly, we plan to reduce the backlog of forensic biology and DNA cases awaiting analysis by at least 211 cases. Grant funds will permit the purchasing of critical reagents and supplies necessary for the processing of these backlogged cases. The laboratory will process these cases in-house using existing procedures and recently upgraded equipment. All eligible profiles generated from processing these backlogged cases will be entered into the CODIS database.
Thirdly, the Hamilton County Coroner’s Laboratory plans to use grant funding to maintain the quality of DNA examinations in the laboratory. This grant will fund the re-certification of critical equipment such as extraction robots, the liquid handling robot, pipettes, and analytical balance weights.
Lastly, grant funds will allow for the continuing education and professional development of the DNA analysts, fund the purchase of proficiency tests for analysts, as well as fund an external Quality Assurance DNA Audit, as required by the FBI QAS document.
With reduced financial support from the local government, this federal funding will allow for the purchase of equipment that will enhance the capacity of the DNA section. It will permit the purchase of critical reagents and other supplies necessary for the processing of backlogged cases. This grant will fund the re-certification of critical equipment as required by the FBI QAS document. The monies will also allow for the continuing education and professional development of the DNA analysts.