Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,500,000)
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) submits this proposal in partnership with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office (KCDA), Kern Regional Crime Laboratory (KRCL), the Open Door Network, and Kern County Forensic Services. We are seeking funds to assist in testing an estimated 750 unsubmitted SAKs possessed by the KCSO.
If awarded this grant, a multidisciplinary working group (MDWG) will be formed to develop policies review the inventory, prioritize, and test all unsubmitted SAKs. The sergeant of the KCSO Special Victims Unit will serve as site coordinator and chair of the MDWG. The MDWG will further consist of prosecutors, a sexual assault nurse examiner, victim advocates, and victim treatment providers. The site coordinator will monitor the Special Victims Unit as inventory of unsubmitted SAKs is reviewed and investigated. Using criteria adopted by the MDWG, the Special Victims Unit will prioritize unsubmitted SAKs for testing. All SAKs will be outsourced to an FBI-approved private laboratory for testing and uploading qualifying offender DNA profiles to CODIS.
Within the MDWG, a project implementation team (PIT) will investigate and prosecute cases utilizing a victim-centered approach. The PIT will implement project strategy and meet regularly to discuss progress. The PIT will consist of the site coordinator, a DA investigator, a sheriff’s detective, and a sexual assault response team (SART) advocate. The PIT will investigate generated CODIS hits and prosecute appropriate cases. As the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs is cleared, the PIT will investigate unsolved sexual assault cases that would benefit from additional DNA analysis or investigation.