Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $293,954)
The Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL) serves the entire state of Vermont and is the only forensic laboratory in the state. The efficient processing of cases, analysis of evidence, and continuous compliance with accreditation standards can be improved through grant funds applied to:
Funding the evidence technician position.
Funding overtime for Seized Drug backlog reduction.
Funding the purchase of laboratory supplies.
Funding to maintain contracts utilized for maintenance of critical laboratory systems.
Funding continuing education of laboratory staff.
The VFL will use the Coverdell funding to support the salary and benefits of the Evidence Technician position; a dedicated person who receives all incoming evidentiary items allowing analysts to work at the bench. The funding will add capacity to improve the quality and timeliness of seized drug services. In recent years, opioid and synthetic drug submissions and case complexity has increased. Grant funding for overtime in the seized drug section will aid backlog reduction. Funds will also be used to purchase instrumentation, supplies, provide critical services, and lastly, allow for continuing education of laboratory staff.
Use of these Coverdell funds has been identified as critical in reducing backlogs, ensuring equipment longevity, providing opportunities for continuing education and maintaining dedicated evidence personnel; all integral components of the laboratory’s functions and necessary to meet customers’ needs.