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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department FY 22 National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grant - Purpose Area 1

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,500,000)

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is a 30-year-old organization that was established via the merger of Charlotte City Police and the Mecklenburg County Police Department in 1993. It is the largest metropolitan police department between Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC and serves a diverse population of 930,613 citizens. The CMPD has achieved great success with its sexual assault kit (SAK) testing efforts due to five previous National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) awards (one completed and four active); however, the increased workload has created process bottlenecks that currently prevent it from efficiently processing outsourced secondary evidence and fully utilizing forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) for research and investigation. These inefficiencies are linked to the need for increased lab and investigative capacities and maintaining key pieces of the BJA SAKI model. The CMPD seeks $2,500,000 in funding from FY 2022 SAKI program under Purpose Area 1 to implement the following strategies:

Maintain the components of the BJA Model first established with FY 2016 SAKI funds, including hiring one-full time Site Coordinator to be the point of contact for the multidisciplinary working group (MDT) and track progress of secondary evidence testing and FGG research, and one full-time Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (Victim Advocate) to provide resources to victims of sexual assault
Outsource approximately 115 serology negative SAKs attached to open sexual assault cases for DNA testing, outsource sexual assault evidence attached to approximately 100 open sexual assault cases for DNA testing or re-testing with the newest technologies as well as outsourcing extracts attached to approximately 21 open sexual assault cases for FGG analysis and research.
Retain a full-time Criminalist DNA Analyst to process all cases that receive Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hits from outsourced testing
Retain two part-time detectives to review unfounded and non-criminal sexual assault cold cases for proper classification and to investigate those sexual assault cold cases receiving CODIS hits after being outsourced for testing
Fund detective overtime expenses to utilize FGG for case research and investigation
Contract with an external researcher to conduct an evaluation of the SART, exploring the process and challenges of navigating the multi-agency network to streamline and enhance survivor engagement across the established service provider
Hire four part-time Investigative Analysts responsible for investigative tasks and testifying in court for cases that return hits from testing
Hire one part-time Cold Case Analyst dedicated to conducting the necessary investigations and research for cases outsourced for FGG analysis in years two and three
Hire one part-time Forensic Cold Case Analyst responsible for working collaboratively with the CMPD’s Investigations Bureau and the CMPD’s Crime Lab to identify secondary evidence for testing or re-testing with the newest DNA technology. Additional responsibilities will include collaborating with the Investigations Bureau to develop case-specific testing plan recommendations and evidence prioritization recommendations, conducting FGG research and investigations, and assisting in the entry of cases into the ViCAP system. This position will be supported through this grant and the CMPD’s FY2023 SAKI Purpose Area 6 award
Hire one full-time Assistant District Attorney (ADA) to spend 50 percent of their time performing complex legal research pertaining to sexual assault cold case crimes, recommend prosecution decisions, and research and prepare cases for prosecution. The remaining 50 percent of their time will be supported through the CMPD’s FY2023 SAKI Purpose Area 6 award
Fund Criminalist DNA Analyst Overtime to review the testing results from outsourced cases and reprocess tested cases that receive CODIS hits
Hire one full-time SART Victim Advocate to assist with providing leadership during SART activities, assist detectives with trauma informed victim notifications, and provide advocacy support services to sexual assault victims

The CMPD sees further expansion into serology negative SAK testing and FGG research as the next logical step in its work to bring justice to sexual assault survivors and will maintain its victim-centered approach to making notifications and conducting case work. The MDT, which currently consists of members from the CMPD Crime Lab and Sexual Assault Unit, DA’s Office, and Safe Alliance, a nonprofit partner will continue to meet four times per year to determine this program’s efficacy and make recommendations to improve performance as necessary, to include policy revisions and training recommendations.

Date Created: September 28, 2022