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2023 Glendale PD Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $420,426)

An increase in calls for service from 2018 to 2022, combined with stagnant staffing levels within the Glendale Police Department Forensic Services Unit (GPD FSU) are impacting the quality and timeliness of the services provided to the Criminal Investigations Division and its judicial customers. This was exacerbated in 2021, when the Department partnered with nine other West Valley agencies to collectively investigate all serious use-of-force situations and in-custody deaths, as recommended by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. While the objective of the West Valley Investigative Response Team (WVIRT) was to ensure public trust, the federally recommended approach to investigating officer-involved incidents has resulted in a 73% increase in scene work for the Forensic Services Unit.
Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant funds are requested as a two-tiered approach to improve operations, reduce the backlog associated with additional drug and opioid related submissions, and provide training to its newly hired staff. The funds would be used for a 1) 3D Scanner System, scene lighting, and a new staff member to document and process crime scenes, and 2) training funds to send two Forensic Scientist to the Ron Smith and Associates International Latent Print Academy and the purchase of a new Cyanoacrylate (CA) chamber to handle the capacity of additional drug related evidence that is being submitted to the laboratory. The incorporation of a 3D laser documentation instrumentation and related software is expected to decrease the time spent on crime scenes, increasing accuracy and quality of the information collected, and reducing any unintended bias in scene documentation. The Latent Print Academy is expected to condense a 24-month training program into a 20-week intensive training block, providing a significant reduction on time and resources the GPD FSU will have to use to train new employees to competency. The purchase of the new CA chamber will increase the capacity of the
laboratory to chemically process drug related evidence. Both of these actions are expected to assist the Unit in the reducing the backlog without affecting the quality of the work.
The GPD FSU was granted laboratory accreditation through ANAB under ISO/IEC 17025 and supplemental standards in December 2022. They are the only laboratory in the state to be granted this accreditation for crime scene and latent print operations. Funds which may be in surplus of the two projects listed above will be used to maintain accreditation and be used for Years 2 and 3 maintenance costs.
The GPD FSU serves the sixth largest city in the state of Arizona and offers support services to nine surrounding jurisdictions.

Date Created: September 25, 2023