Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $293,954)
The Wyoming State Crime Laboratory (WSCL) is the only accredited forensic crime laboratory in the State of Wyoming. The WSCL's fundamental mission of providing a broad range of forensic services on criminal cases to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as to coroner’s offices and public defenders/appointed defense attorneys pursuant to Wyoming State Statutes. Forensic services are available in five units: Latent fingerprints, biology/DNA, firearms/toolmarks, drug chemistry and toxicology. These units each provide specialized forensic testing.
Funding from this award will be used on the toxicology unit to expand the drug confirmatory analysis for a broader range of drug cases for blood and urine analysis, specifically the opioid/opiate drug classes which will include pharmaceutical opiate derivatives as well as heroin and fentanyl. With the expansion of drug analysis in the toxicology unit and the fact that the WSCL is the only forensic laboratory available for these toxicology services in the State of Wyoming, securing the Coverdell Grant funding would significantly assist the WSCL in ensuring continuous service as well as expansion of testing methods.
The latent print unit frequently co-processes controlled substance evidence with the drug chemistry unit. The submission of opioid-related items to the laboratory is becoming more frequent and a significant amount of evidence analyzed is also considered to be opioid-related. Submissions with requests for latent print analysis on drug-related items such as packaging, paraphernalia and other containers where fingerprints and/or palmprints reside can help link perpetrators to controlled substance items.
This funding request is specifically directed toward the following items: Consumable supplies, certification of the hoods used in the forensic laboratory, vortex mixers, analytical balances, training for the drug chemistry unit’s MassHunter software, validation of the toxicology unit’s 8-channel ELISA system, analyst overtime, and calibration of instrumentation for the drug chemistry and toxicology units. The goals associated with the purchase of these supplies and services are to expand drug toxicology service in confirmatory drug analysis specific to the drug classes for opioids and opiates, to continue support for presumptive and confirmatory toxicology analyses, to continue support for drug chemistry analysis for controlled substances submitted to the WSCL, to decrease the backlog for all laboratory units, and to decrease turnaround time for analytical requests from customer agencies.