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LAPD: Resolving Cold Cases with DNA

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)

The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) South Bureau encompasses 57.6 square miles and has a population of approximately 820,000 with a demographic composition of 61% Hispanic, 27% Black, 5% White, 5% Asian, 2% Other; with approximately 30% below poverty level. The South Bureau serves a community that has been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by inequality.  As discussed on page 2 of the narrative, the LAPD is seeking priority consideration for Priority 1(A).

The LAPD South Bureau Homicide Division (SBHD) investigates the homicides that occur in the South Bureau.  From 2010-2019, there have been 1,038 homicides in the area and 44.30% have remained unresolved.  This proposal aims to increase SBHD’s use of advanced forensic DNA technology and techniques to create leads on cold cases, increasing resolution and prosecution of homicides.  The focus will be cases from 1990-2018 identified as having suspect DNA, and which require DNA testing and/or analysis not available through existing resources. 

With the FY 2022 Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA, the LAPD, in partnership with the LADA and FBI, will implement LAPD: Resolving Cold Cases with DNA with the goals of increasing the number of homicide cold case prosecutions and decreasing the number of unresolved homicide cold cases awaiting/pending prosecution.  The LAPD has established partnerships with the District Attorney’s Office and the FBI Violent Crime Unit and Investigative Genetic Genealogy, all collaborating on unresolved cases. By leveraging existing resources of all entities, grant funds will be focused on contracting outside accredited labs for DNA technology not available through existing resources.

The primary activities include case identification and selection, utilization of technology (i.e. autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping and other advanced DNA/forensic techniques) not available with existing resources to generate leads, which will increase case resolution and prosecution of homicides.  The expected outcome of 50-100 cases selected for advanced DNA testing will generate leads, successfully resolve and prosecute cold case homicides.

SBHD investigators and existing partners are perfectly positioned to maximize grant funding to generate leads, resolve and prosecute homicides, bring justice to an underserved community, and build trust within that community.  The proposed program will demonstrate to a marginalized community that justice will be pursued, aiding in improving the trust and confidence of the community.

Date Created: September 27, 2022