Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $240,937)
The Hamilton County Coroner's Office and Laboratory continues to face budgetary challenges and reduced funding from the Hamilton County local government. This award will ensure uninterrupted processing of Forensic Biology/DNA evidence that would otherwise be curtailed.
The goals and objectives of this project are fourfold. First, with this grant funding, the Hamilton County Coroner's Laboratory plans to increase the capacity of the DNA section by purchasing and implementing a probabilistic genotyping system, including purchasing a dedicated computer to run the system. The expert system includes the technical and scientific support and analyst training necessary to implement the system into the workflow of casework. This genotyping system may allow DNA analysts to resolve DNA profiles that were previously considered too complex to interpret. Grant funds will also be used to pay for a validation team to perform the validation of the probabilistic genotyping system so that analysts are able to analyze current and backlogged cases and continue to decrease our backlog.
Secondly, we plan to reduce the backlog of forensic biology and DNA cases awaiting analysis by at least 77 cases. Grant funds will permit the purchasing of critical reagents and supplies necessary for the processing of these backlogged cases. The laboratory will process these cases in-house using existing procedures and recently upgraded equipment.
Thirdly, the Hamilton County Coroner's Laboratory plans to use grant funding to maintain the quality of DNA examinations in the laboratory. This grant will fund the re-certification of critical equipment such as pipettes, and thermometers. Monies will be used to help fund the purchase of proficiency tests for each analyst, as mandated by the FBI Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) document. This funding will pay for an external DNA QAS audit as required by the FBI Guidelines.
Lastly, grant funds will allow for the continuing education and professional development of the DNA analysts, also as required by the FBI QAS document.
With reduced financial support from the local government, this federal funding will allow for the purchase of a probabilistic genotyping system to enhance the capacity of the DNA section. It will permit the purchase of critical reagents and other supplies necessary for the processing of backlogged cases, which would otherwise be delayed without this funding. The monies will also allow for the continuing education and professional development of the DNA analysts, as required by the FBI QAS document.