Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $150,000)
The Colorado Springs Metro Crime Laboratory (MCL) provides forensic science services to law enforcement agencies in El Paso County (Colorado), primarily serving the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, and the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
To improve the MCL's interpretation capabilities of complex DNA mixtures (mixtures from more than two contributors found, for example, in mixed blood stains or touch DNA, or from degraded samples), a switch to a more robust interpretation method is needed. The MCL is proposing to implement probabilistic genotyping to interpret complex DNA mixtures, which will greatly increase the MCL's ability to provide informative results and incorporate all the data that is being generated by the MCL. Also, to maintain the current capacity of the MCL's DNA Unit, continuation funding is requested for a grant-funded part-time serologist, a position that cannot be supported with local funds. Both of these measures will address the current bottlenecks in the forensic biology part of the DNA analysis process.
The proposed grant request would provide the Colorado Springs MCL with much needed technology and personnel to ensure that the DNA Unit can work efficiently. This request will address the goals of the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program, which is to assist eligible States and units of local government to:
- Increase laboratory capacity, and
- Reduce backlog.