Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $150,000)
The Acadiana Crime Lab (ACL) was created in 1971 by an act of the Louisiana State Legislature to support regional law enforcement. The ACL has been an accredited lab since 2001, and in year 2015 was assessed by ANAB and successfully met the requirements of the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and FBI QAS while demonstrating technical competence in the field of Forensic Testing.
All DNA analyses performed under this program are maintained in each respective lab as mandated by the federal privacy regulations. All DNA analysts received extensive training in their discipline and are more than capable of helping the DNA Unit achieve the goals and objectives, which include reducing forensic biology/DNA case backlog and turnaround time.
In an effort to provide timely and accurate service to those law enforcement agencies submitting DNA evidence, Louisiana crime laboratories must increase their current level of funding support. The Acadiana Crime Lab (ACL) is funded solely through a collection of court costs generated by the local municipalities served by the ACL. The entire state of Louisiana and its municipalities are facing stricter budgets, which directly impacts the funding available to ACL. This reduction in funding could potentially reduce the funding available for laboratory staff, supplies, equipment, service contracts, and training. In addition, the ACL has seen an increase in the number of sexual assault kits and violent crime cases submitted for analysis.
At this time, the ACL intends to achieve its goals and objectives by maintaining an increased level of staffing utilizing grant funds. This utilization of laboratory technician positions to process, record, screen, and/or analyze forensic DNA casework frees DNA analysts to focus on the steps of DNA analysis, interpretation, and report writing. The ACL believes that by applying the analysts' time to casework, a higher productivity is obtained thus reducing the forensic case backlog and turnaround time.