Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $232,992)
Johnson County, Kansas is located in the Kansas City metropolitan area and has an estimated population of 580,159. The Johnson County Sheriffs Office Criminalistics Laboratory (JCSOCL) is a full-service ASCLD/LAB-International accredited forensic science laboratory and serves all law enforcement and fire agencies within the county, as well as federal law enforcement agencies within the metro area.
Currently, the Firearm and Toolmark and Latent Print Sections of the JCSOCL are experiencing higher than normal turnaround times/backlogs on evidence submitted for examination. The JCSOCL is requesting grant monies to help with the turnaround times and backlog reduction through the purchase of needed equipment and overtime funding.
The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) is a vital tool implemented by the JCSOCL to address the highly mobile aspect of gun crimes in which firearms move across jurisdictional borders within the Kansas City metropolitan area. Due to shortages in federal funding of the NIBIN program, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) removed the JCSOCLs NIBIN Acquisition Station in 2011. The JCSOCL Firearm and Toolmark Section currently images test fired and recovered evidence cartridge case exhibits at an NIBIN BRASSTRAX Acquisition Station located at the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Crime Laboratory (KCPDCL). Off-site acquisition of NIBIN exhibits has resulted in unnecessary delays in the timeliness of firearms examinations and delivery of results to investigators.
The Firearm and Toolmark Section seeks to improve the efficiency of NIBIN entry and correlation of crime gun test fire and evidence cartridge cases through the purchase and installation of a NIBIN BRASSTRAX Acquisition Station at the JCSOCL. This project is designed to be immediately implemented and is anticipated to have an instant impact on analysis turnaround times of NIBIN evidence. In 2015, the Latent Print Section was fully staffed with six trained-to-competency examiners. Since that time, there have been changes in staffing levels and competencies through retirements and hiring of new employees. The number of cases in the backlog is expected to continue to rise as fully-trained examiners continue to assist in the training of new examiners and are unable to work as many cases. A loss of agency provided overtime has also contributed to the increase in the backlog and turnaround times of cases worked. The Latent Print Section seeks to JCSOCL to reduce the backlog by a minimum of 200 cases through grant funding of overtime.