Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $135,000)
The Beaufort County Sheriffs Office Forensic Services Laboratory provides forensic DNA testing of biological evidence recovered from criminal investigations in Beaufort County, South Carolina. This biological evidence is submitted to the laboratory by the five law enforcement agencies of Beaufort County, which together serve an estimated 175,000 residents. The laboratory began DNA testing in 2010 on cases with known criminal suspects. The laboratory was accredited by Forensic Quality Services (now known as ANAB) under the ISO/IEC 17025 Standard in 2011; following this, the laboratory began accepting cases with unknown suspects. As a result, submissions to the laboratory for DNA casework increased significantly.
In 2012, the laboratory utilized funds under the FY12 DNA Backlog Reduction Program to purchase the Cybergenetics TrueAllele Casework System for automated DNA mixture interpretation using probabilistic genotyping. This system has greatly assisted the laboratory by producing match statistics for mixed profiles that would otherwise be unsuitable for human-based interpretation methods.
The TrueAllele package that was originally purchased included a four-processor server, which allowed the computer to solve four independent samples simultaneously, training for the two DNA analysts that were employed in 2013, and one operator license, which allowed one analyst at a time to login to the server to process samples or review data. TrueAllele has been very effective for the laboratory, but the success of this system has only increased the demand for its use. As a result, the Beaufort County Sheriffs Office Forensic Services Laboratory is seeking $135,000 to enhance the capacity of the laboratory by expanding the TrueAllele server, by adding an additional user license, and by purchasing Operator training for a third DNA analyst.
These funds will purchase a system capacity expansion model, which will add 24 processors to the TrueAllele server and provide a 7X increase in processing capacity. The funds will also purchase an additional access license, which will allow two individuals to login to the server and process samples simultaneously. Finally, funds will be used to purchase training for a third operator, which will allow all three DNA analysts in the laboratory to process and review DNA mixtures.