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Equipment for Excellence

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $99,281)

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Bradenton, Florida is seeking $99,281 through the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program to fund “Equipment for Excellence” – a project that will improve the process of analyzing evidence in the Forensic Chemistry Lab. The Lab was accredited through the Coverdell Grant Program six years ago and the process of handling evidence was streamlined with the addition of barcoding. Lab performance was improved and the backlog of evidence has been kept to a minimum until this past year when equipment failed.
The lab has been crippled by equipment failures twice in the past year, as we have had to find outdated parts to repair the Mass Spectrometer Detector that went end-of-life for technical support in 2013. When it broke down last December it took four weeks to get the machine up and running. The result has been delays in processing evidence, which has created a backlog. Guaranteed technical support for the Gas Chromatograph, equipment partner of the Mass Spectrometer, will end in 2017.
Improving the lab with the purchase of a new Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer will improve the quality and timeliness of services provided by the Lab. The new equipment runs 35-40% faster and will offer functionality that is stable on a day-to-day basis. The automation built into the equipment allows for evidence samples to be pre-set to run while the Chemist is engaged in other tasks. This will improve the turnaround time for evidence samples and decrease the backlog of evidence waiting to be processed.
The project will be implemented from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Performance measures for the Sheriff’s project are based on improving the quality and timeliness of forensic results. They are:
1) By the end of the project period the average number of days between submissions of a sample to the forensic lab to the time the results are delivered to the requester will be reduced by 10%.
2) By the end of the project period the backlog of cases will be reduced by 30%.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Manatee County’s population at 349,330, which puts program funding at a cost of 29 cents per person.


Date Created: September 11, 2016