U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

FY2016 Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program - Honolulu Police Department Scientific Investigation Section

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $409,397)

The Scientific Investigation Section (SIS) of the Honolulu Police Department is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for the City and County of Honolulu. The SIS maintains the only forensic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) laboratory in the state of Hawaii. Due to its unique function in the Pacific Basin, the laboratory processes cases for local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. It is also responsible, by statute, for the state's convicted offender databasing program.

A recent surge in DNA analysis requests for property crimes has exacerbated an already extensive backlog of cases awaiting analyses. In the 2016 legislative session, an expanded sex assault kit testing bill passed which will increase demand and add to the backlog. Compounding the problem, half of the laboratory personnel are trainees and more will be hired in future months. While this will be a long-term benefit to the laboratory, it temporarily drains qualified personnel who serve as trainers for the new employees.

The majority of the awarded federal funds (66 percent) will be allocated to building capacity through the hiring of laboratory personnel. The increase in case processing capacity will help us to address current backlogs and prepare for the anticipated future demand for services. Funding will be also used to ensure new personnel have the equipment and continuing education they need to perform their work.

The remainder of the funds will be used to improve the quality and timeliness of cases involving DNA mixtures. DNA mixtures are time consuming to interpret because of the complexity of the data. Probabilistic genotyping software will reduce the amount of time it takes analysts to interpret and technically review DNA mixtures.

Date Created: September 7, 2016