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Virginia DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction 2016

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,382,996)

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS), an Executive Branch agency, is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations upon request by any state or local law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's Attorney or medical examiner in the Commonwealth of Virginia. DFS maintains four regional laboratories - the Central Laboratory in Richmond, the Eastern Laboratory in Norfolk, the Western Laboratory in Roanoke, and the Northern Laboratory in Manassas. As required by statute, DFS is also responsible for receiving and analyzing DNA samples collected from Virginia's convicted felons and certain arrestees for inclusion, storage and maintenance in the Virginia DNA Databank. Since July 1, 2011, state law also requires DNA sample collection from individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor sex offenses. In 2015, the law was expanded to include DNA sample collections from certain additional misdemeanor convictions.

The goals of this grant project are as follows:

1. Maintain the current personnel capacity of the Forensic Biology Section.
This will be accomplished by continuing to fund five forensic scientist positions and two support positions currently funded under the FY 2015 grant: one forensic laboratory specialist position in casework and one laboratory assistant in the DNA Data Bank. Continuing to fund these positions helps to reduce the backlog and maintains a consistent workflow.

2. Increase testing efficiency and reduce bottlenecks in the DNA casework section.
DFS seeks to purchase Real-Time PCR instruments that will allow the DNA analysts to screen for male DNA in sexual assault cases, thus eliminating the need for traditional time-consuming sperm identification methods.

3. Provide the required continuing education for scientific staff in the Forensic Biology Section.
This will be accomplished through internal and external training opportunities.

Date Created: September 7, 2016