Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $769,011)
The AZ DPS Scientific Analysis Bureaus (SAB) DNA backlog has been steadily declining, and turnaround times improving, for the past three years. Additionally, check-in times for database samples have dramatically improved as well as the time it takes to process a database sample and enter a profile into CODIS. However, the SAB continues to experience budget deficiencies and staffing shortages as well as increased processing demands related to a steady increase in the submission of forensic DNA evidence and the continued efforts towards eliminating the backlog of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
Although the SAB has implemented several process improvements which have had a positive impact on backlogs and turnaround times, these factors have contributed to a slight plateauing in processing times and the number of cases pending a serological or DNA examination.
Without staffing and budget increases, the SAB must rely on grant funding to sustain current production levels and continue with capacity and efficiency improvements projects. Funding from the twenty-four-month period of this grant request would be utilized to accomplish the following goals:
-Continue to fund a casework lab technician and two database lab technicians, previously funded under the FY17 grant. This will allow DNA casework and database analysts to focus their efforts on processing case samples
-Fund supplies and additional equipment needed to address the consistent increase in the submission of evidence for biological examination, increased productivity resulting from process improvements, and supplement an inadequate DNA budget. Funding supplies for database will offset the costs associated with software the section is planning to immediately purchase, which is designed to improve communications with booking stations as well as sample tracking and processing.
-Fund equipment which will automate certain steps of the DNA analysis, allowing DNA analysts more time to work on other aspects of the analytical process and remove a significant bottleneck associated with manual processing.
-Fund the purchase of an additional genetic analyzer with more capacity and faster run times which will address bottlenecking due to a lack of available instrumentation in the database section.
-Partially fund mandatory continuing education/training for both casework and database analysts as required in the FBIs Quality Assurance Standards manual.