Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $643,886)
The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory system (NCSCL) consists of three regional facilities; Raleigh, Triad Regional and Western Regional Laboratories. Theses laboratories perform various types of forensic analysis for the entire state of North Carolina.
To better serve customers, the Western Lab Drug Chemistry section, the Raleigh and Triad Toxicology sections and the Raleigh Firearms section are requesting funding from the 2022 Coverdell Formula grant to increase the expertise of their respective drug chemists and toxicologists and to improve instrumentation and efficiency as it relates to forensic analysis.
Overall drug chemistry case submissions have increased over the past several years. To keep up with this increase and to continue to provide quality chemical analysis efficiently and effectively, additional instrumentation is required. As a result, the Western Lab Drug Chemistry section is seeking funds to purchase a new GCMS. In addition, both the Raleigh and Triad Toxicology sections have seen an increase in GCMS downtime for maintenance in part due to the age of instrumentation. To help reduce this downtime, these two sections would like to purchase replacement GCMS instruments.
The crime laboratory is requesting funding for two training opportunities. The first request is to send thirteen toxicologists to the 2023 Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. This training is necessary to keep up with the shifting trends and new analytical techniques. The second request is to provide an in-house GCMS maintenance course for seven drug chemists. This training will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce instrument downtime.
The Raleigh Firearms section requests funding for a TopMarch-3D scanner. Scans from this instrument can then be uploaded into the Remote Virtual Comparison Microscopy (VCM) Client Software where the examiner will have advance technology available to assist in the analysis of firearms related case work. In addition, the 3D scans can be digitally shared with between the Firearms section of the Raleigh Laboratory and the Western Laboratory. Once validated and implemented, TopMatch 3D and VCM could aid in cross-laboratory case file review.
It is expected that the purchase of this new instrumentation will increase laboratory efficiency and subsequently increase casework production which should lower turnaround times and the number of backlogged cases. These effects will be monitored through the laboratory’s information monitoring system, Forensic Advantage (FA).