Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $291,641)
The Cape Coral Police Department is seeking funding to demonstrate an improvement over current operations in forensic science through acquiring emerging technology in forensic science, training, and lab modifications.
The City of Cape Coral, with over 200,000 residents, is the second-largest city in Florida by landmass, 120 square miles with over 400 miles of canals. It is the most populated city in Southwest Florida and the 8th most populous city in Florida. Three-quarters of Florida's population lives within 150 miles of Cape Coral.
The equipment purchased will improve the detection, documentation, and collection of evidence, increase the number of drying chambers, and decrease contamination and chain of custody concerns. Adding ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) capabilities, the Department will remain in compliance with industry standards and promote the standardization of forensic services. Additionally, the Department will modify the forensic lab, providing a more secure environment, and reducing the risk of contamination and chain of custody concerns. Due to the high level of drug paraphernalia coming into the Department to be processed, a dedicated room with proper ventilation will be modified to become a drug evidence processing room. The drug evidence processing room aims to minimize forensic personnel's challenges when handling evidence specific to opioids and synthetic drugs. Having latent prints in drug cases will give the State Attorney's Office direct evidence to prosecute drug dealers.
The Department is a dedicated leader in forensic accreditation. The Forensic Science Services Unit is accredited in the field of Forensic Science Inspection and Friction Ridge through ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). The Department will ensure that reliable and scientifically valid evidence is used when examining, analyzing, and interpreting evidence in criminal matters and provide reports and testimony to courts of law regarding such evidence. Forensic personnel's job is to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence for lab and court proceedings and testifies as an expert to those items and finds.
The Department has a great working relationship with all levels of the justice system. The Department is confident in the project's feasibility due to partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Having the necessary technology and training to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science will benefit not only the Cape Coral Police Department but also local, state, and federal agencies.