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FY23 Montgomery County Police Department competitive Coverdell Application

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, $499,993)

Montgomery County, Maryland is a vibrant community located within the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). With a population of over 1 million people, it is the most populous and diverse county in Maryland.

Montgomery County is also struggling to deal with twin social epidemics: rampant opioid usage and a precipitous increase in firearm-related violent crime. The number of offenses involving controlled dangerous substances, like fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin, increased 62% from 2021 to 2022. In comparing quarterly crime data (January 1 to March 31) from 2022 to 2023, overall overdoses are up 63% year to date. Data regarding gun crime in Montgomery County is also equally grim. In 2019, there were 696 violent crimes involving firearms; this number increased to 738 in 2020 and 905 in 2021. During 2022, Montgomery County saw a 22% increase in firearm-related violent crimes from the previous calendar year.

These disturbing trends have sometimes hampered the MCPD Crime Laboratory’s ability to respond in a timely manner, as the crushing caseloads generated from opioid cases and gun crime cases exceeds its capacity to analyze evidence quickly and accurately to support effective criminal investigations and prosecutions. Nevertheless, as an anchor forensic institution in the DC metropolitan area—supporting smaller municipal jurisdictions and agencies—the MCPD Crime Lab is expected to provide consistent, timely, and high-quality forensic analysis services across multiple domains to criminal justice stakeholders.

This competitive Coverdell grant will support MCPD’s efforts to obtain necessary equipment and personnel to eliminate these backlogs, thereby strengthening community safety and protecting the public from crime and evolving threats.



Specific grant deliverables include:

Acquisition of a State-of-the-Art Mass Spectrometer and

High-Capacity Virtual Microscopy Scanner and Analysis Software

Employment of a Contracted Firearms/Toolmark Examiner
Training and Professional Development
Collaboration and Outreach Initiatives
Evaluation and Quality Assurance

By securing grant funding, the MCPD Crime Lab will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, additional personnel, and a strengthened commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the opioid epidemic and gun crimes in Montgomery County. Grant deliverables outlined in this proposal align with the objectives of the Coverdell grant program, ensuring the crime lab remains at the forefront of forensic science advancements while working to eliminate case load backlogs. With grant funding, the MCPD Crime Lab will make significant strides in solving crimes, preventing drug-related deaths, and fostering a safer community for all.

Date Created: September 25, 2023