Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $62,500)
As with many forensic laboratories across the country, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office Forensic Services Bureau is struggling with budgetary restrictions that impact our operation. Increasing backlogs, aging technologies, and the loss of key personnel all affect our ability to provide the highest quality and timeliness of our forensic services that is justifiably expected of us. Although we have been extremely fortunate up until this point, we cannot risk the very real possibility of our backlogged cases resulting in cases being dismissed by the criminal justice system that we work so hard to serve.
The Fingerprint Unit of the Crime Scene Investigations and Fingerprint Section was devastated by the loss of five of its six examiners within a very short time frame, drastically affecting their capacity to not only process the hundreds of fingerprint cases they receive each year, but also preventing them from effectively training the new examiners brought into the unit. Currently, the backlog in the Fingerprint Unit has grown to close to a staggering 700 fingerprint processing cases. Without assistance, we are projecting that these numbers will continue to climb. However, we are highly optimistic that these challenges can be overcome. Through the use of the requested grant monies, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office Forensic Services Bureau aims to improve the quality and timeliness of our forensic services and reduce the number of backlogged cases by providing high quality training to the heavily depleted Fingerprint Unit.