Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
The power of DNA is invaluable. DNA often has the ability to solve police investigations, as well as exonerate innocent parties. Often it is the only lead investigators have in violent sexual assault cases. New York State understood the value of DNA when mandating, in 2012, that all offenders convicted of a New York State Penal Law felony or misdemeanor offense is required to provide a DNA sample. This was a positive step toward expanding the DNA Databases; however, in practice there is a lack of enforcement resulting in thousands of offenders residing in New York City who still lawfully owe DNA samples.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) Special Victims Unit recognizes this deficiency, understands what needs to be conducted to address and improve the matter, but currently lacks the funding necessary to implement this project. The NYPD Special Victims Unit proposes an initiative where the Working Team would work with the Department of Justice to compile a list of priority offenders who lawfully owe DNA. The Working Team would then locate said offenders and collect the owed DNA samples, take them to the NYPD lab for analysis, and upload them into the DNA Databank. Activities will be documented through the Enterprise Case Management System and a tracking spreadsheet will be maintained by the team to measure the success of the initiative.
This initiative proposes collaboration with partners from the NYPD Legal Department, the District Attorney’s offices, New York State Probation, New York State Parole, New York City Department of Corrections, New York State Department of Corrections, and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The DNA collected through this initiative will expand the DNA Databank, ultimately increasing the probability of solving sexual assault cases. If awarded this grant, the Special Victims Unit will be able to implement this initiative.