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FY2017 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $612,637)

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences Forensic Genetics Laboratory (HCIFS-FGL) will use funds from the NIJ DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program to decrease the casework backlog and reduce turnaround time for violent crime cases.

Harris County is the largest county in Texas and the third largest county in the United States. The HCIFS-FGL provides forensic DNA analysis to approximately 65 law enforcement agencies in the county, excluding the Houston Police Department. According to the 2015 United States Census Bureau, Harris County had an estimated population of 2.1 million people living outside the Houston city limits. In the Texas Crime Report for 2015 released by Texas Department of Public Safety, approximately 80,000 offenses were committed in Harris County comprising 10,000 personal crimes and 70,000 property crimes. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Science Forensic Genetics Laboratory received 3,184 cases in 2016.

Harris County will use NIJ grant funds to assist in reducing the current casework backlog and reduce case turnaround time through overtime and by purchasing supplies. They estimate at least 750 cases will be analyzed using grant funded supplies and overtime. In addition to these measures, the laboratory will outsource ~150 DNA cases from the backlog. One Genetic Analyzer will be purchased to replace an older model that will no longer be supported by the manufacturer. Finally, funds from this award will be used to provide required continuing DNA education to approximately 14 DNA Analysts.

Overall the NIJ grant funds will increase the overall capacity and productivity of the HCIFSFGL, which will make a significant impact on the laboratory current backlog.


Date Created: September 29, 2017