Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $163,089)
Scientific crime laboratories play a critical role in solving crime, they help solve cases and assist in identifying dangerous offenders, using innovative technology and scientific data. Having crime laboratories available is crucial to Arizona's criminal justice community and maintaining high standards of forensics must be a fundamental investment by federal, state, and local governments. Crime laboratory professionals can provide expert opinions on evidence by presenting extensive reports explaining their analyses, and describing the methods and techniques used to arrive at their conclusions. The quality of work each lab provides is directly related to the proficiency and knowledge of the lab professionals employed within it. Because of the increasing value forensic science has within Arizona's criminal justice community, it is imperative that agencies continue to progress and evolve while maintaining the highest professional standards for their laboratory personnel. By using the latest technology, innovative industry practices, and gaining knowledge from ongoing education; Arizona's forensic laboratories will continue to increase their value to the criminal justice community. Program Goal: In order to improve crime laboratories throughout the state of Arizona, the grant funds will be used for training and educational opportunities, personnel overtime, purchasing innovative and new technology equipment, and laboratory certification fees. Agencies working in this collaborative effort include Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory; Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale police department crime laboratories; and the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner. Laboratories will advance components of the state strategic plan for forensic laboratory improvements by supporting recommendations to annually dedicate funding for training programs, overtime to reduce backlogs, and equipment purchases. Project Design & Methodology: These laboratories have an essential need for funding. Providing certification and being able to keep up with innovative practices within the industry can be a hardship.