Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $246,289)
San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States, with a population of approximately 1.39 million. The crime laboratory serves the approximately 1,900 sworn members of the police department. DNA has become an increasingly important part of the investigators approach to their casework, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in the numbers of submitted DNA laboratory requests.
The DNA unit completed approximately 2,147 cases in 2017, a nearly 900 percent increase from the 250 cases analyzed in 2000. Approximately 1,900 DNA requests were received into the laboratory in 2017. A continually expanding property crimes program, an effort to use DNA testing to target gang violence through aggressive prosecution of felon in possession of firearms cases, and a commitment to assist robbery detectives with home invasions and bank thefts, have generally resulted in a steady year-over-year growth rate for DNA testing services.
As detectives become used to receiving highly relevant information from our criminalists, and as those same detectives endure their own staffing shortages and overwhelming workloads, more and more items are submitted for analysis in the hopes we might be able to provide investigative leads.
The successes with STRMix have generated a significantly higher number of CODIS searchable profiles, providing our customers with useful information we previously were not able to obtain. Without use of grant funding to supply current instrumentation, overtime funding, additional staffing, and training, our laboratory would not be able to effectively meet the needs of the residents of San Diego.
The goal is to utilize these grant funds to build upon the efficiencies and continue to decrease the backlog built up during the transition to our new processes.