Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $293,954)
Montana Code Annotated 44-3-101 establishes the “Montana Forensic Science System Act” authorizing the attorney general to provide the personnel, facilities and procedures to (1) determine the cause of certain types of deaths by such investigation and examination as are in the public interest; (2) analyze specimens for law enforcement officers; and (3) provide reports, including oral testimony, concerning such investigation, examination, and analysis when in the public interest. This is under the authority of the Montana Department of Justice Forensic Science Division. Montana Code Annotated 44-3-201 authorizes the attorney general to appoint the State Medical Examiner who must be a physician licensed to practice medicine in Montana. Our medical examiner’s office functions within the Forensic Science Division and works in collaboration with the State’s independent county coroner system to provide death investigations.
The Montana DOJ-FSD is requesting funds to improve both our forensic analyses services and our death investigation system. A portion of the funds will be applied to addressing the growing needs associated with the testing and analysis of opioids, and funding is also requested to fortify the collaboration between our medical examiner office and the county coroners by providing them with a coroner liaison resource, training, and certification support.
Our objectives for this grant proposal are:
To fund the coroner liaison position (Non-Opioid related)
To provide training for three (3) forensic scientists in 2022 (Non-Opioid related)
To replace an aging GC/MS instrument and LCMS/MS pump in toxicology, as well as hydrogen generators and nitrogen evaporators for both Chemistry lab locations (Opioid-related)
Maintain and expand standard laboratory supplies in both Missoula and Billings facilities (Non-opioid and Opioid-related)
Acquire opioid drug standards and supplies for a new toxicology method (Opioid-related)
Acquire computer tablets for DNA, Latent Print, and Toxicology sections to convert to paperless worksheets (Non-Opioid related)
Maintain and expand the laboratory information management system JusticeTrax (Non-Opioid related)
Support the ABMDI certification of 5 (five) Montana county coroners by paying their application and exam fees (Opioid-related)