Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $254,664)
The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory (NCSOFL) is a fully ANAB accredited laboratory that offers toxicology, serology, seized drug, and firearms analysis.
To make Toxicology more efficient, federal funds are requested to purchase a new laboratory instrument that will allow the laboratory to automate their ELISA drug screen. Since this analysis is currently performed entirely by hand, automating this assay is estimated to save 117 hours on the bench on an annual basis.
In addition, federal funds are requested to purchase supplies, a consultant, and 200 hours overtime directly related to validation of a new LC-MS/MS system; plus ammunition for the firearms section so they may begin to build up a reference collection. The supplies for method validation will be used to validate up to eight methods on a new LC-MS/MS system that was previously purchased by Niagara County. The consultant will be used to coordinate method validation experiments, review data, prepare the final validation summaries and instruct current analysts in the most efficient way to run the validation experiments. The overtime will be used to run the validation experiments to get the data to the consultant.
Funds are also requested for registration fees to pay for a class that will prepare three (3) individuals to sit for their certification exam. This class is either a 16 or 17 module class that prepares individuals for either the ABC or ABFT certification exam. Certification of all employees is something that the laboratory is working towards.
Funds are also requested to improve safety for the latent prints and firearms section by purchasing evidence drying cabinet, a fuming chamber, and upgrading the ventilation in the test fire room
Finally, federal funds are requested to support six (6) individuals to either go to in-person training or attend in-person conference. This will include travel costs and registration fees. While personnel have been quarantined during the pandemic, they have taken advantage of numerous on-line training seminars across multiple disciplines. While these have been extremely beneficial, there is a place for in-person training and in-person meetings. These trainings/meetings allow collaboration between professionals to tackle challenging cases, discuss emerging drugs, learn about the latest research, and provide an immersive learning environment that cannot be equaled on-line.