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FY 2016 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $71,530)

The Office of Victim Services Justice Grants (OVSJG) is the District of Columbia's State Administering Agency for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. The OVSJG will work in collaboration with the Department of Forensic Sciences and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The OVSJG requests $70,335 to focus on improving the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services. The Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) is the District of Columbia executive agency whose mission is to provide forensic analysis in support of criminal investigations that lead to the public safety and justice. The DFS Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) continues to experience an increase in the number of case submissions from year to year, resulting in backlogged in cases serviced. In particular, the FSL Firearms Examination Unit (FEU) has seen a dramatic spike in firearm analysis, test fire, and federal intelligence database reporting service requests. The increasing workload is a result of increasing violent crime offenses involving firearms. FEU currently has two firearms examiners and seven trainees to handle the increasing workload and resulting backlog. If awarded, the Department of Forensic Sciences would utilize the FY16 Coverdell Grant for training programs that would accelerate the competency level of the firearms trainees. The District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) operates as an independent government agency within the District of Columbia Government. The agency investigates and certifies all deaths in the District of Columbia that occur as the result of violence as well as those that occur unexpectedly, without medical attention, in custody, or pose a threat to public health. In addition, the agency provides forensic pathology and toxicology services to local and federal government entities. These services improve public health and safety and include consultation, testimony, and laboratory testing of non-fatal sexual assault, synthetic drug surveillance, and driving under the influence specimens. The OCME is in need of funds to obtain continuing medical education and trainings for staff in order to improve the quality and timeliness of services and augment the agency's knowledge base. If awarded, funds will be used to assist with sending 14 scientific staff members to seven trade specific, forensic workshops and conferences. Scientific staff will consist of medical examiners, forensic investigators, forensic photographers, and forensic toxicologists. These training opportunities offer multiple accredited workshops which address pathology, scene investigation, and toxicology. nca/ncf

Date Created: September 7, 2016