Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $293,954)
The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL), is an accredited, state funded forensic laboratory system consisting of a central full-service laboratory in Pearl and three regional laboratories located in Batesville, Meridian and the Gulf Coast.
State funding prohibits the growth in laboratory capacity that the increasing MSFL caseload demands. Forensic staff has decreased due to attrition. The goal of the 2022 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program is to provide laboratories with the tools needed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic services that they provide.
The MSFL proposes to accomplish this goal by reducing the backlog of forensic casework and improving the quality of services. Funds will be used to replace a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer instrument to address the analysis of synthetic opioids and other complex drugs of abuse. The Trace Evidence Section requires an FTIR microscope for rapid analysis of trace evidence to improve capacity and efficiency in the central MSFL laboratory. Continuing education for the forensic scientists in their area of expertise for individual certification requirements as well as annual maintenance fees associated with MSFL ANSI accreditation will be funded.
Deliverables include a reduction in turnaround time of casework in the Drug Chemistry and Trace Evidence Section. Certified analysts will maintain their professional status by acquiring continuing education units and the MSFL will maintain its accreditation.