Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,631,254)
The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory has the responsibility of providing forensic DNA analysis and a convicted offender/arrestee database for the entire state. Funding from this grant will be used to increase capacity and to reduce the number of backlogged cases in the Forensic Biology Section and to increase the capacity of the Database Section for the analysis of database samples and upload to CODIS.
The Forensic Biology Section currently has a backlog of approximately 1,100 DNA cases. Since June 2014, this backlog has been reduced from over 4,000 cases. Prior success in this area has been maintained, in part, through grant funding for laboratory supplies and overtime for analysts. The section plans to continue this model and is requesting additional funds for laboratory supplies. A request for training travel has also been made to help increase the sections exposure to the latest trends and technological advances in the field that could have a positive impact on the efficiency in performing analysis. These requests coupled with additional analysts beginning casework are expected to ensure the success of this project.
The Database Section currently has a backlog of approximately 1,000 samples. Prior success in this area has been maintained, in part, through grant funding for outsourcing an average of 20,000 convicted offender/arrestee samples per year and overtime for analysts to perform the necessary technical reviews. A request for training travel has also been made to help increase the sections exposure to the latest trends and technological advances in the field that could have a positive impact on the efficiency in performing analysis. The Section now primarily utilizes in-house analysis for database samples; however, due to pending legislation that would dramatically increase sample intake, the Laboratory maintains a contract for the outsourcing of sample analysis.
State legislation for an all felony arrestee database is being considered which would increase the number of untested samples and the time it takes to load those samples into CODIS. To account for this potential increase, the section is continuing its request to outsource database samples and to receive funding for supplies to process samples in-house. It is expected that this in-house analysis, coupled with outsourcing will increase the number of samples analyzed/uploaded per year and will successfully allow the Database section to maintain its current processing and upload to CODIS time.