Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)
To meet the important and complex responsibility of holding accountable those who perpetrate violent crimes, law enforcement agencies must utilize novel approaches to DNA forensic evidence. Due to limited financial and capacity resources, evidence from many cases is unable to be immediately processed and tested, which inevitably leads to a backlog of cold cases. Funding from the US DOJ BJA FY22 Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA grant program, will allow the Union County Prosecutor’s Office (UCPO) to expand current UCPO operations to prosecute violent crime cold cases where suspect DNA has been identified, engage in further laboratory testing, and bring justice for more victims of crimes in New Jersey. Requested funds will allow the UCPO to hire an additional Data Analyst, thereby expanding our capacity in the solving of backlogged violent cold cases using identified suspect-DNA. The UCPO anticipates that the outcome of this request will build community relations between law enforcement and the residents within the UCPO’s jurisdiction, many of which are located in designated Opportunity Zones. By solving violent crimes using cutting-edge DNA evidence, the community will see that law enforcement across the region of northern New Jersey invests in all communities, regardless of affluence or race, to solve violent cold cases that impact our residents.