Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $293,954)
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory (ASCL) is a full service forensic laboratory serving the entire state of Arkansas. This includes 75 counties with a population of approximately 3 million individuals.
The ASCL is accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) in the ISO17025 Program and the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).
The ASCL employs approximately ninety (90) analysts in the disciplines of CODIS, Forensic DNA, Drug Analysis, Forensic Toxicology, Physical Evidence (Trace and Serology Units), Firearms/Toolmarks, Latent Prints and Digital Evidence. In addition, the ASCL has a Medical Examiner's Office.
Problem Statement/Purpose: Arkansas is experiencing an increase in drug overdose and seized drug cases due to the opioid epidemic as well as an increase in homicides. This is causing a greater demand on gunshot residue analysis. The current Scanning Electron Microscope that is used for this analysis is outside of its useful life and is hindering efficient processing of these cases.
Project Strategy/Primary Activities:
Purchase a new Scanning Electron Microscope
To provide professional development opportunities to Forensic Scientists and Medical Examiners
To continue the ANAB and NAME accreditation programs
Anticipated Outcomes: There will be improved efficiencies in the processing of gunshot residue cases in the Physical Evidence section. Attendees at National/Regional meetings and training seminars will enhance quality and/or timeliness improvements that can be implemented at the ASCL which will decrease turnaround times and the backlog.