Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $238,151)
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Forensic Services Division (FSD) is an accredited crime laboratory under the American Society of Crime Lab Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).
The crime laboratory provides forensic services to more than 24 law enforcement agencies within Contra Costa County, servicing over one million residents.
The FY18 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program grant funds will be used to provide salary and fringe benefits for one Biology Unit staff, a Forensic Analyst Project position. This full-time employee will provide the Biology Unit support with capacity enhancement-specific activities, such as validation of new technologies, equipment operation, sample set-up, reagent preparation, quality assurance/quality control tasks, research, special projects and DNA casework.
In addition, the laboratory seeks to purchase an automated liquid handling differential digest instrument to eliminate the time consuming, manual processing of sexual assault evidence. Robotic instruments are able to batch process 96 samples, prepare pre and post digest slides, and generate a sample for biological screening.
This high throughput automated instrument will enable the laboratory to establish a direct to DNA extraction process for sexual assault kits, which allows the DNA analysts more time for data analysis, interpretation, report generation and technical review. Funds will also be used to replace an aged Real-Time PCR instrument needed to improve operational efficiency. With the addition of support personnel and higher capacity DNA instrumentation, the laboratory will be able to better meet the needs of the community we serve.