Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $227,152)
San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States, with a population of approximately 1.39 million. The Crime Laboratory serves the approximately 1,900 sworn members of the Police Department. DNA has become an increasingly important part of the investigators approach to their casework, as evidence by the dramatic increase in the numbers submitted DNA laboratory requests.
The DNA Unit completed approximately 1,600 cases in 2014, a 600% increase from the 250 analyzed in 2000. In 2017, the demand for DNA typing services in the City of San Diego remains high. As our testing techniques become more sensitive, we are finding that we can get meaningful results from evidence we could not get results from previously.
The successful completion of our cartridge case study, showing we can get probative DNA profiles from fired cartridge cases in significant percentages, illustrates this point. With the addition of STRmix software to do mixture interpretation, we are faced with a significant increase in data, results, and complicated complications. In 2015, our Forensic Biology Unit went through several changes to include a new extraction kit, new workspace, a new work flow, and the move to STRmix.
It is our goal to utilize these grant funds to build upon the efficiencies created using the 2016 grant, and significantly decrease the backlog built up during the transition to our new processes. We will do this with a combination of overtime funding, support staff funding, new technology, and additional training for our analysts.
1. Reduce the average turnaround time on DNA cases to below 100 days (currently 141 days).
2. Increase the average number of samples analyzed per analyst per month to 42 (from 38 currently).
3. Reduce the backlog (cases over 30 days) by approximately 10%, in part by completing 46 cases in-house using grant funded overtime.
4. Provide mandated training to all analysts in the DNA laboratory.
5. To increase the efficiency and productiveness of our mixture interpretation by upgrading our STRmix licenses.
6. To increase the efficiency of sexual assault evidence throughput using a platform for automated differential extractions.