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FY 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program - Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $389,757)

The Forensic Biology Unit (FBU) of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for over 28 municipalities, the school systems and to provide assistance to local Federal agencies as needed. As the primary agency conducting DNA analysis for Palm Beach County it is of the
utmost importance that the FBU provide efficient and timely processing of all evidence. In March of 2016 Florida Senate Bill 636 was passed into law requiring the testing of all sexual assault kits within 120 days of submission to the laboratory and the testing of all sexual assault evidence prior to July 1, 2016 within the next three years, with exceptions. In order to mitigate what is expected to be an increase in case requests for analysis the FBU is requesting funds for
the following goals:
1. Increase the capacity of the Forensic Biology Unit.
2. Decrease non-casework related activities through vendor contracts.
3. Maintain continuing education for all analysts in the lab.
While the exact effects of SB 636 are unknown, the FBU is proposing to hire two grant funded Forensic Scientists to qualify and approve as competent to handle, screen and collect evidence for downstream DNA analysis. In addition, the FBU would like to also contract with Marshall University for a Technical Assistance Program intern. The intern, who will be prepared in FBU methodologies prior to the internship will complete a laboratory directed validation project.
The overarching goal of this proposal is to decrease the existing turnaround times that the laboratory had established prior to the passage of SB 636. The citizens of Palm Beach County have been and will continue to be provided with fully validated technologies and methodologies in forensic DNA analysis in order to provide the highest quality casework and prevent future DNA backlogs. The Federal funding from this award will help the laboratory increase and
maintain capacity as well as help the laboratory implement a more streamlined workflow.
As a result of funding from this grant the PBSO FBU expects to be able to continue its quest to reduce turnaround time by increasing the focus time available for casework through the addition of two staff members. In turn, these additions have the potential to ultimately reduce the laboratory’s turnaround time and relatedly, the number of cases currently on the laboratory’s
backlog. nca/ncf

Date Created: August 25, 2016