Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $403,308)
The Kern County District Attorney’s Office - Forensic Science Division (Kern Regional Crime Laboratory) continues to make significant strides towards advancing the DNA technologies available at the laboratory, increasing the services provided, improving casework production, and maintaining a minimal backlog with the help of funding provided by the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Programs. Annually, the unit is averaging 700 completed cases, 2800 DNA samples processed, and over 200 profiles uploaded to CODIS. The unit continues to work hard to keep the backlog at zero and the average turnaround time under 60 days. In addition to casework, the unit recently completed the validation of the MiSeq FGx system, the validation of the Virtual Standard Curve with Quantifiler Trio and is currently in the process of validating the SeqStudio and KingFisher Presto Starlet instruments. Together, the unit strives to accomplish the following goals:
Work new cases as soon as possible with completion of all DNA cases within 60 days of receipt;
Maintain a minimal backlog; and
Stay on the forefront of DNA technology and advancements by acquiring new instrumentation and methodology, validating these new systems and implementing them into our current workflow, as appropriate.
The laboratory requests grant funds to purchase the following:
Consumables and equipment associated with running DNA casework samples using both the current CE-based workflow and the new NGS-based workflow.
Continued funding of a Forensic Technician position
Funding for a new Criminalist position
Travel expenses for mandatory annual grant training for 1 DNA unit member (Washington, D.C.) per year