Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $341,285)
DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program (Formula) –
Project Abstract FY2022
Agency Name: Vermont Department of Public Safety
The Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL) is responsible for providing DNA analysis of evidentiary material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Vermont. The VFL is the only forensic laboratory performing DNA analysis in Vermont. The Statutes of Vermont designate the VFL as the agency responsible for conducting analysis on DNA samples collected from all convicted felons and some misdemeanor offenders in the state of Vermont; the VFL is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant profiles in the Vermont DNA Data Bank, and uploading qualifying samples to CODIS.
In recent years, the VFL has faced staffing and budgetary constraints. This has placed a burden on both the database and case working sections to maximize workloads. The laboratory hopes to continue the employment of a grant-funded analyst position. At the present time there are no state funded positions available to fund that position. The Federal funding from this award will assist in giving analysts more time and supplies to process casework and database samples and review the resulting work. This award will be specifically used for the following goals:
Goal 1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
Goal 2. Reduce the backlog of DNA database samples.
Goal 3. Provide continuing education opportunities for staff.
Goal 4. Increase capacity and maintain stability of the VFL DNA laboratory.
The VFL expects to analyze at least 100 forensic cases over the period of the grant funding through the efforts of the qualified grant funded analyst as well as 250 cases worked on an overtime basis and/or with supplies purchased with grant funds. In addition, the VFL anticipates processing at least 1250 DNA database samples using a combination of overtime and supplies purchased with grant funds.
Training funds will allow individuals to attend International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI), American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), and grantee workshops. These opportunities provide a means to stay current in the technologies and policies that impact the work of the laboratory.
Additional funding will be used to purchase a qPCR instrument and pursue contracts pertaining to annual maintenance of the LIMS, support of the temperature monitoring system, annual preventative maintenance of many DNA instruments/software, and accreditation.