U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Maine's FY23 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $312,708)

FY 2023 Coverdell Maine Project Abstract

The Maine Department of Public Safety is submitting this application on behalf of the three State of Maine forensic science laboratories. They are the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory (MSPCL), Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), and the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL). All the labs experience issues with staff training, equipment, and backlogs. 

The MSPCL intends to use the FY 2023 Coverdell Funds for continued forensic science education and other high-quality field related training for the Evidence Response Team. As a result, the training will improve the quality and timeliness of work performed.  Funding will assist in the purchase supplies, equipment, maintenance/service contracts and software upgrades. MSPCL would continue to support the professional development of the staff with the latest industry trainings and professional conferences in their field of expertise.

The OCME plans to use the FY 2023 Coverdell funds for continuation of contracted board-certified forensic pathologists in order to investigate a higher percentage of deaths in Maine, without increasing burn-out of the full-time staff. The contracted staff were primarily used to cover weekends. Maine has the ability to conduct autopsies seven days a week with this funding. These forensic pathologists have now fully retired and while some funding will be used for weekend coverage by a forensic pathologist and a Medical Examiner Assistant, most funding will be used for equipment and supplies.

The HETL intends to use the FY 2023 Coverdell Funds for continued professional membership dues and subscriptions that are not paid for by the state, which include the Society of Forensic Toxicology (SOFT), International Association of Chemists (IAC), Journal of Forensic Science (JFS), and the Associations of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers (AFQAM). HETL plans to also pay for proficiency tests, required for accreditation, to ensure ongoing competency of analysts. HETL plans to send eight analysts to in person conferences during the program period and allow for all staff to attend virtual conferences, as available. HETL also intends to renew an annual evidence software license to allow for electronic chain of custody for evidence. To prevent down time and increase testing abilities HETL will purchase a backup hydrogen generator.

Date Created: September 25, 2023