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FY 2018 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $463,615)

The Erie County Forensic Laboratory performs forensic DNA analysis for the Local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies of Erie County. Forensic DNA services are also provided for Niagara County, Orleans County, and occasionally for law enforcement agencies from 3 neighboring counties.

The Laboratory currently has 10 full-time Forensic Biologists and two DNA Analysts assigned from Niagara County Crime Laboratory. Additionally, the Quality Assurance Coordinator performs DNA/Biology casework. With the success of CODIS and heightened focus on violent crimes, forensic DNA requests have been steadily increasing beyond the lab’s current capacity to analyze cases.

Meanwhile, advances in DNA technology have improved the capability of obtaining DNA profiles with multiple contributors, but the complexity of the mixtures has increased the analysis and technical review time. Together, these influences have resulted in a significant backlog and a need to reduce the DNA turnaround time.

In order to reduce the number of samples awaiting DNA analysis and sample turnaround time, and to further increase the forensic DNA throughput of this lab, the lab is requesting funding to provide overtime for DNA analysis on backlogged cases and continued funding for the 3 Forensic Biologist positions previously funded under the capacity portion of earlier NIJ grant programs.

The Federal funding from this award will be used for the following goals:
1. Reduce forensic DNA sample turnaround time.
2. Increase throughput of DNA samples.
3. Reduce the number of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis
Additionally, funding will be used to purchase the necessary DNA supplies to be used for analysis and overtime funding to manage the grant programmatic requirements.

It is anticipated that the overtime funded by this program to analyze DNA casework will result in a decrease in the turnaround time and a decrease in the number DNA samples awaiting analysis. 160 additional cases are expected to be completed using grant funded overtime. The long term goal is to analyze the current backlog of cases and to then provide a 30 day turn-around time for new cases. Additionally, the salaries and fringe funded by this program to retain 3 Forensic Biologists will increase the throughput of DNA samples by completing an additional 288 Biology/DNA assignments.


Date Created: September 4, 2018