Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $609,312)
The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory (NCSCL) has three (3) laboratory settings across the state, each with a fully functional Latent Evidence Section that processes evidence for latent fingerprints, footwear, and tire track impressions.
In the past two years, the Latent Evidence Section has experienced a drastic rise in cases and this trend is expected to continue. Additional analysts have been added to the Raleigh Latent Evidence Section to address the increase in workload. The growing needs of the section would be mitigated by first purchasing a vital upgrade to our State Automated Fingerprint Identification System (SAFIS), a database used daily to search latent prints and retrieve known fingerprint cards of individuals for comparison purposes.
To outfit the additional analysts and to provide necessary photography education to all NCSCL Latent Evidence Section analysts, the following would be purchased at a cost of $20,362: three (3) Nikon D850 camera bodies, three (3) Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 60 mm f/2.8D camera lenses, three (3) Nikon AF-S 18-35mm 3.5-4.5G ED wide angle camera lenses, three (3) Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-3W tripods, and one (1) on-site training course. Finally, two (2) high intensity light sources (TracER lasers) necessary for processing certain cases involving deaths would be purchased.
The purchases of the aforementioned equipment and upgraded services with funds from the Coverdell grant would vastly improve the efficiency and case turnaround time for the Latent Evidence Section of the NCSCL, as well as maintain the level of quality that is expected by the customers we serve.
The Drug Chemistry and Toxicology sections are seeing an increase in the number of opioid cases. In order to keep up with this trend, the sections have to invest more in training, instrumentation, consumables, general purpose equipment, and drug standards. To address the continuing education needs of the analysts, we request funds to send eight (8) scientist to the 2019 Drug Enforcement Agency Forensic Chemistry Seminar, sixteen (16) scientists to the Southern Association of Forensic Scientist, and four (4) toxicologists to the Society of Forensic Toxicologists meeting.
In the lab, existing instrumentation requires several computer upgrades. To offset the increase in case load and improve efficiency, three (3) new Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometers (FT-IR) and a new Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) are needed. The increase in caseload and analysis time has resulted in an increase demand of instrumental and extraction columns, reference standards, consumables, and instrumental maintenance.
The Drug Chemistry and Toxicology sections request funding for the purchase of instrumental columns, extractions columns, ovens, reference standards, and other lab consumables. These purchases will allow the Drug Chemistry and Toxicology sections not only be more efficient, but would allow for an increase in the scope of testing and expertise offered to our customers.