Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $405,000)
The Jacksonville Police Department proposes to implement a regional Rapid DNA instrument to help bolster law enforcement efficiency, improve community relations, and assist in reducing the backlog in our overburdened state crime lab. The purpose is to allow the city police officers and partnering agencies to process DNA samples themselves with minimal training, thus generating investigative leads within a 90 minute time period versus the many months (or at times, years) it can take at the state crime lab. Project activities include the purchasing of the Rapid DNA instrument and related software, supplies and services within three months of received funding, training personnel on the instrument and related software, and coordination with participating agencies to utilize the system. Expected outcomes include reducing crime, increasing efficiency, and saving tax dollars (long term). Additionally, the implementation of the system will help with easing the crime lab’s burden and reduce backlog of critical sexual assault kit samples to be analyzed, all of which will benefit the residents of the City of Jacksonville, Onslow County, the surrounding region, and ultimately all residents of North Carolina. The targeted service area for this project includes Onslow, Pender, and New Hanover counties. The city intends to partner with Wilmington Police Department to connect with their current Rapid DNA System.