Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $457,000)
The Merced County Sheriff's Office is seeking funds in the sum of $456,000.00 to purchase a RAPID DNA analysis system. The procurement of this system will aid and enhance law enforcement officials and investigators across our county and beyond, to better serve the citizens of Merced County by increasing California's forensic capability. The technology was developed and approved under FBI guidance, in an effort to process DNA within a short ninety (90) minutes time span. Law enforcement agencies across the country utilize RAPID DNA to make expeditious and accurate identifications, all which have drastically improved public safety on all accords.
The Bensalem Township Police Department attributed a 42% reduction in property crimes to their RAPID DNA system. This system further benefits crime labs by providing workload relief and a reduction in unprocessed cases. RAPID DNA is a "game changer" in improving public and officer safety in addition to community relations. RAPID DNA has the capability to equip investigators with the most accurate forensic technology to identify criminals and to exonerate the wrongly accused.
Since the Merced County Sheriff's Office provides Coroners services, this technology will play a vital role in timely and accurate identification of decedents and remains of disaster victims, providing answers to loved ones quickly; which alternatively would take long period of time when submitting samples through the traditional method of crime labs.
Merced County has a property crime rate of 47.2%, which surpasses the national average. Systems such as RAPID DNA will have a positive impact on reducing those numbers, enhancing the quality of life for all residents.