Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $282,379)
The South Dakota Forensic Laboratory (SDFL) is the only accredited laboratory in South Dakota handling Forensic DNA analysis on criminal cases. As such, evidence from criminal cases throughout the entire state of South Dakota is submitted to the SDFL for Forensic Analysis. The SDFL has managed a 60-90 day analysis turnaround time for the past several months now. That turnaround time has increased due to the loss of an experienced examiner, and an increase in Biology caseload. A new examiner has been hired to replace this loss, and increased productivity has been realized in the Biology section. Renewed funding will allow us to continue purchasing supplies for casework, reducing turnaround time.
In addition to allowing us funds to conduct Forensic Analysis of evidence from criminal cases in-house, funding from NIJ has also allowed us to outsource our DNA database samples to a vendor laboratory. South Dakota is an all-arrestee state. Anyone arrested on a felony charge must submit a DNA sample for entry into the states DNA database. This equates to approximately 4,500 samples per year. Although it is the intention of the SDFL to eventually begin to process these samples in-house, the current practice of out-sourcing them to a vendor laboratory and uploading the data to CODIS after review is the most effective method.
It is our intention to use NIJ funding to accomplish 3 goals. The first goal is to equip and supply examiners with the required tools and supplies to perform forensic testing on evidence from criminal cases and upload applicable DNA profiles into CODIS. The second goal is to provide 5 DNA examiners the opportunity to receive required annual training at a variety of specialty workshops including: Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists annual conference, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors annual meeting, and the American Association of Forensic Science annual conference. The third goal is the continued out-source of DNA offender samples and the subsequent in-house review of data and upload into CODIS. Funding from NIJ allows us the opportunity to continue to prioritize the casework submitted to our laboratory and allows us to function uninterrupted.