Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $650,000)
The South Dakota State Forensic Laboratory (SDFL) is the only accredited laboratory in South Dakota capable of doing forensic DNA analysis on criminal cases. As such, evidence from criminal cases throughout the entire state of South Dakota is submitted to the SDFL for Forensic Analysis. The SDFL has managed a sub-90-day turnaround time for the past several years, despite an increase in Biology caseload. Our offender database samples are completed inhouse (since 2018) and all the work to upload those samples is done on-site. The SDFL continues to see increases in case submissions each year. One additional DNA analyst will be trained in 2023-2024. The SDFL prides itself in efficiency and find that we complete a high number of DNA cases per examiner compared to other crime labs. Renewed funding will allow us to continue purchasing Global-filer kits for casework, supplies for on-site offender sample testing, both of which will reduce the turnaround time in casework and offender sample processing. Renewed funding would also allow us to purchase necessary Rapid DNA supplies as our lab continues to attempt to be on the forefront of technology and prepare for upcoming FBI changes to increase efficiency. As the SDFL expands, there will be continued need for additional equipment to maintain the current turn around times and to keep up with an increase in examiners and casework. It is also pertinent to accreditation bodies that the SDFL maintain appropriate exam and analysis spacing where work is being conducted. To meet this standard, it is necessary to expand the working space and use the equipment requested to create a duplicate biology lab. The SDFL has been using funds from CEBR for the past couple of years to make this goal a reality, with one or two more cycles, the second lab equipment needs will be met.
Is it our intention to use this funding to accomplish the following goals: equip examiners with the required supplies to perform forensic testing on evidence from criminal cases and upload applicable DNA profiles into CODIS; Use money for additional DNA equipment to analyze more samples at the same time; and send examiners to required FBI QAS trainings that allow us to stay current in real-time with other labs and the forensic community. These requests will allow the SDFL to continue to provide, and improve upon, the current turnaround time that the customers of our state have come to expect from the SDFL.