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FY 2017 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants

Award Information

Award #
2017-CD-BX-0018
Location
Congressional District
Status
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
2017
Total funding (to date)
$104,287

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $104,287)

The Office of Victim Services Justice Grants (OVSJG) is the District of Columbia’s State Administering Agency for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program.

The OVSJG will work in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). The OCME operates as an independent government agency within the District of Columbia Government. The agency investigates and certifies all deaths in the District of Columbia that occur as the result of violence as well as those that occur unexpectedly, without medical attention, in custody, or pose a threat to public health. In addition, the agency provides forensic pathology and toxicology services to local and federal government entities.

The District of Columbia will use funds to obtain continuing medical education and trainings for OCME staff in order to improve the quality and timeliness of services and augment the agency’s knowledge base. Funds will be used to assist with sending 42 scientific staff members to 17 trade specific, forensic workshops and conferences.

Scientific staff will consist of medical examiners, forensic investigators, forensic photographers, and forensic toxicologists. These training opportunities offer multiple accredited workshops which address pathology, scene investigation, and toxicology.

Training obtained will be used to maintain certifications and licenses (both individual and laboratory), to educate other professionals within OCME, and to inform other local government agencies about medico legal death investigation.

Continuing education and seminars provided by these workshops can help to improve OCME’s overall efficiency and quality of service. This, in turn, helps families of the deceased, legal entities, and law enforcement agencies. In addition, education often leads to innovation or implementation of new techniques or strategies which can reduce backlogs and turnaround time.

Finally, the provision of professional education helps retain scientific staff in a competitive workplace. This reduces autopsy and toxicology backlogs which frequently occur during staff shortages. The OVSJG requests $91,524 to focus on continuing medical education and trainings for OCME staff in order to improve the quality and timeliness of services and augment the agency’s knowledge base.

nca/ncf

Date Created: September 29, 2017