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Washington State Patrol Forensic DNA Initiative

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,585,019)

The purpose of the project is to increase the capacity of the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division I (WSPCLD) casework laboratories, maintain and increase capacity of the WSPCLD database laboratory, enable the DNA casework and database analysts in WSPCLD to meet their continuing education requirements, and enable the WSPCLD to maintain NDIS Participation and ISO 17025 Accreditation. One of the problems this project will address is the time delay to process, record, screen, and analyze a forensic biology/DNA case from submission to delivery of results to the submitting agency, which has increased from an average of 66 days in 2015 to an average of 76 days today. Difficulty with staff retention in WSCLD contributed to the time delay problem. Another problem the project will address is the aging equipment in the WSPCLD. The project will replace aging equipment with new equipment to mitigate the risk associated with equipment failure or poor performance, eliminate bottlenecks, and help improve work flow. The project will help tackle the problem in the casework laboratories associated with keeping up with advances in mixture interpretation and implementing Probabilistic Genotyping software for complex mixtures as well as the mandatory CODIS loci kit implementation to maintain NDIS participation for casework and database labs.

Under the project, WSPCLD will maintain the grant funded positions, retain current staff and overtime work. The funding of the IT4 specialist and 3 lab technicians will help address the chronic staff shortage to provide WSPCLD DNA services. The overtime for casework DNA analysts will allow more cases to be completed than could be done during regular hours. The project plan includes an external DNA QAS audit in 2017. This will be required for WSPCLD to remain a NDIS participating laboratory. The project plan also includes replacement of old servers with new servers across the WSPCLD laboratories to reduce the risk of system failure. The project will also include procurement of the Probabilistic Genotyping software to enable DNA analysts to save time during complex mixture interpretation.

The expected result of utilizing overtime funded by this award is that at least 100 additional case requests will be completed. Although the backlog will still increase because of the new SAK submission law, the WSPCLD expects to keep the mean turnaround time as quick as possible. The new equipment and probabilistic genotyping software will help remove laboratory bottlenecks and to keep the DNA typing service up to date. nca/ncf

Date Created: September 7, 2016