Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $780,301)
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
APPLICATION FOR THE FY 2022 DNA CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT FOR BACKLOG REDUCTION PROGRAM
Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance
This application is for Federal assistance from the FY 2022 DNA Capacity Enhancement For Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. Funds are being sought to handle, screen, and/or analyze backlogged forensic and database samples. Overtime and the outsourcing of backlogged cases to a qualifying fee-for-service laboratory will be used in accomplishing this task. The SLED DNA Laboratory is a NDIS participant lab in good standing; therefore, the resulting evidence and database profiles from analysis of these samples will be entered and searched in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to assist state and local agencies to ultimately solve crimes.
SLED expects to reduce the DNA case and database sample backlog by the end of the award period. Funding on this award will allow for analysis of approximately 100 cases and 2,000 database samples using grant funded overtime. Additionally, it is anticipated approximately 230 cases will be outsourced using these funds.
Funds are being sought to provide continuing education for DNA analysts. Educational information and new technologies presented in these training events enhance the lab’s capabilities in implementing new DNA methodologies and increasing throughput through exposure to novel automation and techniques.
Funds will be used to purchase a 3500xl Genetic Analyzer to expand instrument capacity of the DNA Casework Department. The Department has been granted eight additional DNA analyst positions during the last budget year. The additional genetic analyzer will help accommodate these new analysts’ instrument needs and prevent instrumentation from becoming a bottleneck in the analysis process. Outsourcing the performance check of the 3500xl genetic analyzer is also being requested. Staffing limitations would make it difficult to complete these studies in a suitable timeframe; however, outsourcing the performance check will help keep DNA personnel focused on primary duties so that the backlog is not adversely affected.
The DNA Departments have had a significant increase in the number of DNA analysts recently hired. In-depth training provided by an outside vendor on DNA instrumentation and software will be beneficial in developing their knowledge on the tools needed to fulfill their job duties.
Service contracts for the 3500xl that will be purchased on this grant, and instruments purchased on previous grants will provide preventative maintenance and service repair, as needed, to keep these instruments operational. Instrument outages can negatively impact capacity and therefore the DNA backlogs.