Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $388,271)
The Columbus Police Crime Laboratory has a current authorized strength of nine casework analysts and one DNA Supervisor/Technical Leader. The resignation of one DNA analyst in September 2022 has added to the continued challenges of reducing the backlog of cases and this position remains open due to delays within the Human Resources hiring process.
The laboratory faces challenges when processing cases with multiple item submissions. The retention of previously grant-funded laboratory technician positions would allow the DNA analysts to focus their time on DNA analysis, interpretation, and report writing while the technicians complete the initial evidence handling, collection, and sample preparation tasks. The continued funding for these positions will ensure that the impact of additional personnel on the reduction of backlogged cases can continue into the future.
DNA case submissions have remained fairly constant over the past few years. In the upcoming years, the laboratory plans to increase capacity by adding additional instrumentation, equipment, software, and personnel to reduce the current DNA case backlog.
Federal funding from this award will be used for the following goals/objectives:
Hire and train two police evidence technicians to assist with evidence collection and preparation.
Purchase additional equipment to expand the capabilities of existing equipment.
Reduce/prevent a DNA case backlog by purchasing supplies necessary to process case submissions.
Provide training to analysts on current and emerging technologies in DNA analysis to help generate ideas for new methods or procedures that can be used to increase efficiency in the laboratory.