Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $215,623)
The Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory (TPDCL), a unit of the Tucson Police Department, is responsible for the analysis of evidence associated with criminal investigations for the City of Tucson, to include the analysis of DNA. The TPDCL and the City of Tucson continue to face severe budgetary constraints, particularly in the area of staffing. There has been no increase in the number of permanent staff members in the DNA Unit or the Crime Laboratory for several years. The backlog of DNA cases waiting for analysis continues to increase and the turnaround time remains very high. One way to positively affect the backlog and turnaround time is to increase staffing. Funding from this grant will be used as follows:
1. Continue grant funding for a DNA Screener (CSS) position for an additional 12 months;
2. Continue grant funding for a full-time DNA Criminalist position for an additional 12 months;
3. Fund overtime for DNA Criminalists, DNA Technical Leader and DNA Coordinator.
It is anticipated that the grant-funded DNA Screener will screen (perform sampling, photography, preliminary chemical tests) a minimum of 100 cases for potential DNA evidence while being funded with this grant. This position provides important and much needed support to the DNA analysts, freeing them up to focus their time and efforts on the actual DNA analysis process and data interpretation.
It estimated that the grant-funded DNA Criminalist will analyze a minimum of 125 cases while being funded from this grant. The cases screened by the grant-funded DNA Screener will be different case than those analyzed by the DNA Criminalist to avoid double counting cases for grant reporting.
Funding for overtime should enable the DNA section to complete approximately 100 additional cases.