Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $565,528)
The Forensic and Technical Services Section (F&TSS) is part of the Investigative Branch of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). The F&TSS provides forensic services to the entire State of New Jersey. Within the F&TSS are the Office of Forensic Sciences (OFS) and the Forensic Services Bureau (FSB). The OFS maintains five forensic laboratories that service over nine million residents in New Jersey: Central, North, South, and East Regional Laboratories and DNA Laboratory. The four Regional Laboratories provide drug and toxicology analysis. Additionally, the Central Regional Laboratory provides trace analysis, while the South, East, and Central Regional Laboratories provide arson analysis and are responsible for taking in forensic biology cases. The FSB is comprised of the Ballistics Unit, the Forensic Imaging Unit, the Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit.
Often working in conjunction with each other, the Units of the F&TSS provide forensic investigative services to the State’s law enforcement and prosecuting agencies. Utilizing funds provided under the formula allocation of FY22 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, the F&TSS proposes to further enhance and develop its forensic investigative capabilities, increase efficiency, and reduce the overall backlog and turnaround time of cases within the OFS and FSB.
Funding will be used to upgrade and replace existing equipment and to increase the capacity of the F&TSS. Additionally, new equipment and instrumentation purchases will be made to help make the OFS laboratories and Ballistics Unit more efficient. These additional tools will help to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic and the increase in gun crimes throughout the State. Funding for training will cover travel and registration costs and enable OFS analysts and Ballistics examiners to attend conferences related to drug, toxicology, trace evidence, and firearm and tool mark examination. Funding will also be awarded to State, county, and local forensic laboratories and Medical Examiners’ Offices through a competitive bid process. This funding will be utilized by those agencies to further enhance their forensic capabilities as well.
It is expected that funding from the FY22 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (Formula) will improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science services throughout the State of New Jersey. Funding will also allow analysts and examiners to attend training that will give them the knowledge and skills to help improve the quality of services they provide and to more efficiently conduct criminal investigations for the State.