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Provide needed staff, supplies, and equipment to build and maintain increased capacity and output in our State DNA Laboratory.

Award Information

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

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

The Montana Department of Justice Forensic Science Division (MT DOJ FSD) is the agency responsible for analyzing evidence associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Montana.  Montana Code Annotated 44-6-102 designates the MT DOJ FSD Laboratory to conduct analysis of DNA database samples collected from all convicted felons.

DNA casework at the Montana Department of Justice, Forensic Science Division, continues to be overwhelming.  Case submissions have increased 80%, and sample volume has more than doubled over the last 10 years.

The Montana State legislature passed legislation in 2019 to make Montana an “All Kit State” for sex assaults.  All approved sex assault evidence kits are being submitted for analysis.

Our goals are to reduce our turn-around times, our backlog, and our ratio of backlog to cases completed by 10% by the end of the award period and to maintain a 90 day turn-around time for 85% of our CODIS samples.

Our objectives for this grant proposal to achieve these goals are to improve the efficiency of processing casework and add resilience to our small laboratory by continuing to fund two forensic analysts able to perform serology and DNA analysis functions; to improve backlog and analysis turn-around times by continuing to fund a part-time DNA analyst; provide reagents and consumables to accommodate increases in DNA casework and differential extractions; provide continued education training for our analysts; fund preventative maintenance for our most recently purchased Hamilton robot and our second Qiacube instrument; purchase a Maxwell RSC 48 robot for the extraction process and replace an aging 7500 PCR with a Quant Studio QS5 instrument; maintain subscription license fees for a newly acquired DNA module in our existing LIMS; purchase CODIS convicted offender collection kits.

Date Created: September 8, 2023