Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $108,332)
The Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS) is a newly created Division charged with the integration of the prior Delaware Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) with forensic science services statewide. With the overall increase in deaths in general, coupled with the increase of unfortunate deaths due to drug overdose, the unit is falling behind in its educational expectations for forensic investigation. As new techniques and best practices emerge, it is imperative that investigators stay current to successfully meet the standards they are held to while in pursuant of meeting the mission as defined by the Division. The Division of Forensic Science employs approximately 200 individuals. Currently, there is a 10,000 dollar budget for the entire Division. This cost covers registration fee, lodging, air fare or transportation, and per diem. Coverdell funding will provide the Pathology Unit with the ability to send at minimum fifteen to conferences to further knowledge in the field of forensic investigation. The training permits the Pathology Unit members to remain certified and/or licensed in their field of specialization, and also allows for advancement of the unit and progression of knowledge. Enhancing education of the staff will in turn increase the education of the entire Pathology Unit. When individuals return from conferences, they will share what they have learned through team training. Through this joint training, it is expected that the members who had not attended the conference will benefit from the in house education. In the sharing of experiences and updates to the best practices of investigation it is expected that the forensic team will provide a faster and more comprehensive investigation. Increased knowledge will also allow for the unit to better interact with the multidisciplinary team in which they investigate the cases with on a daily basis. Through these actions, the quality of investigations will improve and justice will be served faster, whenever possible. Grant funds enable the Unit to meet and possibly exceed the standards in which the Division holds the unit to in meeting the mission of the Division of Forensic Science. The goal is to equip DFS with the necessary items to operate efficiently and therefore improve case processing and create substantial cost benefits to Delaware. A minimum of 15 Pathology personnel will complete continuing education within 12 months of receiving grant funds.