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FY 2022 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program (CEBR)

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $650,000)

The Division of Forensic Science is the agency that is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Delaware.  Delaware Code (Title 29, Chapter 47) designates the DE DFS as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected by the Delaware Department of Corrections from all convicted felons; the DE DFS is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant DNA profiles in the Delaware State DNA Index System.   

The state of Delaware has seen an increase in the number of cases submitted to the DFS-DNA unit for DNA analysis roughly every year (excluding 2020) since the early 2000s. This is partly due to an increase in sexual assault case submissions as a result of SAKI (Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, where all sexual assault cases will be tested, even though we are not required by legislation to do so), and partly due to a general rise, over time, in submissions on all other types of cases. In 2020, the level of cases coming into the office decreased, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The caseload picked back up in 2021 and 2022. For 2023, the current caseload is at an 8% decrease from where the unit was at this time in 2022. This is not to say that the final difference in cases submitted will be a decrease, as submissions fluctuate from month to month. At the end of the year, we could see a net increase, as historically has happened.

At the beginning of 2022, the DNA unit had 35 cases that were not completed, however, zero of these cases were greater than 30 days old. Therefore, our backlog at that time was 0. Our turn- around time (TAT) was 33.6 total days and 22.57 working days (submission to completion). At the end of 2022 the TAT was 45.1 total days, or 31.9 working days (submission to completion). However, currently, it is 58 total days. This increase was due to a continued staffing issue coupled with a steady increase in our caseload. The DNA unit always attempts to be as efficient as possible in order to make up for these temporary setbacks.  One goal that has remained constant is the need to decrease the TAT and maintain the very near/or zero backlog. With the funds from this particular project we expect to achieve the following:

1. Decrease the TAT and maintain the zero DNA case backlog through the purchasing new equipment and supplies.

2. Maintain the zero backlog we currently have in the database section as well, through the purchasing new equipment and supplies.

3. Provide the required continuing education needed for each analyst in the unit.

By the end of this award period, The DE DFS - DNA Unit can expect to complete at least 270 cases.  The agency also expects to process and complete at least 1,250 DNA database samples using funds from this grant.  With each analyst increasing their throughput for casework, we expect that the TAT will decrease to under 50 total days and under 30 working days.

Date Created: September 8, 2023