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Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $127,857)

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCOPS) is the State Administrative Agency for the Forensic Science Formula Grant Program. Prior to FY2005, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) received the entirety of these funds. SLED provides the criminal justice community with
a full-service state of the art forensic laboratory and is tasked with analyzing samples submitted by law enforcement agencies and coroner's offices throughout the state. To assist local forensic laboratories that provide forensic services to surrounding law enforcement agencies, SCOPS expanded the solicitation beginning in FY2005 to include all forensic services and labs eligible under the guidelines. The need to decrease the number of backlogged cases at SLED, as well as in local laboratories, is
evidenced by the number of cases that have not been processed. As of February 7, 2016, SLED had a non-DNA backlog of 4,161 cases in eight separate forensic departments. When DNA cases are included, the backlog increases to 12,213. Based on the needs of the individual departments, overtime
I hours and/or equipment will be needed to reduce these backlogs.
Local laboratories are also experiencing backlogs due to the number of cases they are receiving from law enforcement agencies in their areas. These laboratories typically have one or two chemists who are responsible for all forensic cases processed. With the increase in drug arrests in the regions
where these facilities exist, more cases are being sent directly to these labs rather than SLED, resulting I in additional backlogs. These labs strive to process all drug cases within a week to ten days, but this turn-around-time has now increased due to the influx of cases.
All forensic labs strive to increase productivity and efficiency. To accomplish this, laboratories must purchase instrumentation and train personnel to remain current with technology standards. Upgrading old and out-dated equipment and obtaining additional training will allow for more rapid processing of evidence, faster case tum around and quicker apprehension, prosecution and conviction of criminal
Project Goals and Objectives
(1) To improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiners/coroner's office services.
(2) To reduce the number of backlogged cases in the SLED forensic laboratory by 25%.
(3) To reduce the number of backlogged cases in local forensic laboratories by 25%.
(4) To acquire and install equipment in forensic laboratories to reduce backlogs, as well as increase the productivity of cases processed.


Date Created: August 21, 2016