Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $424,500)
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department Regional Crime Laboratory (Crime Lab) has made significant changes to its DNA analysis processes in recent years. The Crime Lab adopted STRmix™ probabilistic genotyping software and methods to analyze the expanded Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) locus set, as well as actively pursuing validations of new automated platforms, interpretation software upgrades, and enhanced workflows. With increased technology validations and DNA profile interpretation requests, backlogs and analytical expectations have increased. Additionally, recent California state legislation, Senate Bill 22 (SB 22), now requires the Crime Lab to analyze all sexual assault evidence kits submitted within 120 days of receipt, exacerbating case throughput demands as well as meeting the expectations set by the ANSI National Accreditation Board and the FBI Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) for Forensic DNA Testing.
The Crime Lab requests $424,500 in program funding to increase its DNA analysis capacity and reduce its backlog. The funding will be used to procure redundant automated platforms to ensure continuity of service. Additionally, funding will be utilized to provide continuing education for DNA analysts and support overtime efforts to reduce the case backlog.
The goals of the project funded by this award are to decrease our DNA sample turn-around time, increase efficiency of DNA analysis, and reduce the backlog of DNA cases.