Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $108,332)
South Dakota intends to utilize the award to help with the foundation of improving the lab services. The SDFL provides services to all law enforcement in South Dakota, including local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement.
Similar to what the lab saw in 2015, the 2016 year case numbers are at an all-time high. The past two years have shown that over half of the case submissions to the laboratory were property crimes, and this year was no different. The increase in the number of property crimes submitted over the last few years has presented more work for our examiners primarily in the serology/DNA and fingerprint sections. The SDFL did not have any additional full-time positions granted this year ensuring that the examiners now employed are yielding the highest individual case load numbers seen at the lab. The SDFL must be more efficient through better time management and improvements in equipment to increase efficiency. Along with its efforts to improve efficiency, the SDFL looks to expand the services provided in our firearms/tool marks section to include crime scene reconstruction capabilities.
Coverdell funding will be used to make needed upgrades to the serology/trace, fingerprint and firearms sections in equipment and technology, as well as purchase new equipment that will be utilized to improve efficiency, reduce turnaround time, and improve accuracy of results. Coverdell Grant funding would also be used to provide continuing education to lab staff in their respective disciplines.
Anticipated outcomes would be that the equipment purchased, in conjunction with the training received would allow for more efficient use of examiner time, allowing for higher productivity. The training would assist the SDFL in maintaining the required training hours and improving the quality of work in the forensic lab.