U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

FY 2017 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR)Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $199,725)

The Kern County District Attorney's Office- Forensic Science Division (Kern Regional Crime Laboratory) has demonstrated significant improvements in casework production over the last year with the help of funds provided by the DNA CEBR Programs.

From 2016 to 2017, the laboratory was able to reduce the backlog from approximately 300 to 100 cases. However, even though the unit’s production has significantly improved, the turnaround time has remained constant at approximately 200 days. One way to reduce the turnaround time for casework is to completely eliminate the backlog so that only newer cases are worked in a timely manner.

Maintaining the current number of trained criminalists in the unit is essential to eliminate the current backlog. Seven criminalists are currently assigned to the DNA Analysis Unit, however, due to the economy in Kern County, the laboratory is faced with the layoffs of these criminalists. Due to mandatory Civil Service rules regarding layoffs, the DNA criminalists are the most vulnerable for elimination as three are the most recent hires in the laboratory.

The loss of staff within the DNA Unit would jeopardize the laboratory's ability to eliminate the backlog and improve the casework turnaround time.

The Kern Regional Crime Laboratory's DNA unit also continues to process at least one sample from every sexual assault case in Kern County (approximately 200 cases per year). In addition, the lab continues to receive requests to analyze samples for "touch DNA" as the laboratory is routinely asked to recover DNA from items such as shell casings.

The increase in the number of requests have significantly increased expenses for laboratory supplies and consumables. The Kern Regional Crime Laboratory has spent more than $188,000 on kits for extraction, quantification, and amplification alone in the last two fiscal years. The lab spent approximately $50,000 more on these kits in FY2015/2016 compared to FY2014/2015. In order to continue to work the number of cases submitted and work cases in the backlog, it is expected that the lab will spend at least as much on consumables/supplies as the most recent fiscal year.

The Kern Regional Crime Laboratory requests to use approximately $135,000 in grant funds from the FY 2017 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program for funding the salary and benefits for one full-time DNA Criminalist and approximately $65,000 for the purchase of Extraction, Quantitation and amplification kits for the processing of forensic DNA casework samples.


Date Created: September 29, 2017