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BSO FY23 Competitive DNA CEBR

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $661,232)

The Sheriff of Broward County is charged with safeguarding over 1.9 million residents and millions more visitors by providing public safety services that enhance the quality of life for everyone in Broward. Among the public safety services is the Broward Sheriff Office’s (BSO) Regional Crime Laboratory which is part of the Statewide Criminal Analysis Laboratory System and offers Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) analysis on evidentiary samples to all Broward municipalities and any federal agencies that may request services.

The demand on forensic DNA laboratories is not only to increase productivity but to do so while demonstrating the highest standards of quality and documenting all laboratory activity in preparation for court and audits. Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are intended to create a digital workflow, reduce risk, create audit trails, and streamline operations. As an accredited forensic DNA laboratory, we must document and retain records of all consumables, quality control and lifespan of those consumables, instruments, and corresponding maintenance, the status of every sample throughout the entire workflow, peer-review of samples/cases analyzed, release of information via discovery requests or audits, training, continuing education, qualifications, proficiency test results, competency test results, incidents, and/or corrective actions. Currently, the vast majority of these laboratory activities are manually documented and converted into digital format for long-term retention. This process makes creating records and maintaining audit trails for court and accreditation purposes laborious and inefficient.

To improve current laboratory operations, enhance efficiency, increase samples and cases processed, and thereby improve the timeliness of forensic biology/DNA analysis services, the BSO DNA Unit is requesting funds to purchase a LIMS system specifically for the DNA Unit that will fully integrate into the current laboratory-wide LIMS system. We will also be requesting funds in Special Pay for selected staff to complete the validation on overtime so as to not negatively impact casework. The system must be validated to ensure it meets the needs of the Unit. It must meet the strict quality assurance standards set forth by our accrediting body and be compared to the existing method to ensure accuracy, reliability, and reproducibility, and to objectively demonstrate the improvement in timeliness of services delivered. This system will improve documentation quality and create standardization in the workflow and record-keeping requirements of the Unit.

Date Created: September 8, 2023